I discovered Finland native Tiia Maria’s line of handmade hats Made & Made at the Frenchman Art Market just a few weeks ago and was instantly smitten with her perfect toppers. What drew me in was the quality and detail in her designs- teeny fascinators are adorned with kitty ears and a birdcage veil. Slightly cheeky and not too precious these are the perfect toppers to add a glamorous touch without being too over the top. Learn more about Made & Made on their Facebook page after finding out about the brand in the interview below.
Why hats? How did you get started as a milliner?
Up until a couple of years ago, I spent most of my time studying, writing and reading. I have a Masters in Adult Education, but I felt like the career path it was taking me on wasn’t creative enough. I also wanted to do something with my hands. I love the process of shaping felt hats. Millinery is like sculpting but only with felt and other materials. I also want hats to make a come back because it makes dressing much more interesting.
I’m interested in vintage clothing and hats are a big part of that. I admire old hats and I have been collecting vintage hats for many years. Two years ago I did a few millinery courses in Finland and after that I wanted to learn more.
You’re from Finland originally. How long have you been in New Orleans, and what sparked the move?
I moved here in December 2011 after falling in love with the city on an earlier visit. New Orleans is a very creative environment and new ideas and faces are welcome. Moving to New Orleans gave me a chance to do something completely different and really focus on my craft. I also enjoy the warm weather and sun!
Your hats have a decidedly vintage feel to them. How do you keep them feeling modern and wearable for everyday life vs. feeling like a costume?
My hats have a vintage feel because I use real vintage materials: laces from the 1920s, feathers from the 1940s, fur felt from the 1960s and much more. Even the wooden molds I shape the hats on are authentic hat blocks, many over 60 years old. I love using these antique materials because they are absolutely unique and very good quality too. There’s nothing quite like a piece of 1930s black veiling and you only get to use it once. Using these kinds of tools and materials makes each piece incredibly special.
I try to keep the trimming and decoration simple to avoid the costume look, the result is that each hat is modern and refined but shows its vintage roots. The materials – fur felt, silk, veiling, grosgrain ribbon – are quite beautiful, so rather than embellish each piece with lots of decoration, these special materials are given their own space. I make headpieces for special occasions but also have hats that are wearable every day. I want to keep my hats modern to show that you don’t need a vintage hairdo or classic outfit to wear a great hat.
Besides your site and the Frenchman Art Market, where are you selling your hats?
Visit www.madeandmade.com for the complete collection, and in New Orleans you can find Made & Made pieces at Bon Castor and Trashy Diva too.
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