RIP St Saviours Hats, 2009-2022
The millinery section of my meandering journey through life was sort of accidental. Deliberate as a hobby, accidental as a full-time job. And now, in 2022, I’m going to deliberately - rather than accidentally, or slowly and painfully - end my relationship with hats.
This page used to explain how, in 2009, St Saviours Hats began life in the spare room of my converted East London vicarage-apartment. How we started selling one-of-a-kind hats at weekend market stalls and UK festivals. And how, soon after - very fortunately and accidentally - St Saviours grew into an accessories label stocked in London high-street stores, Topshop, Topman, Anthropologie and Harvey Nichols (this is the part of the movie when Kylie Minogue bought one of our hats, was photographed wearing it next to Stella McCartney at a Madonna concert, and I nearly died when my heart exploded with excitement).
After three years working on the business in London, we moved St Saviours home to Australia in 2013 and opened the design store, Kate and Abel, in Fremantle - with the hat bit acting as the USP of the shop. For the non-nerds, that’s Unique Selling Point - and it’s the thought of losing that hook, that thing that people know us for, that has made me reluctant to give up hat making.
But - as I get older, and as my interests and passions shift - I can see that millinery also represents a different part of my life. I’m so grateful for the purpose (and identity, safety, fun, opportunities…) hats have given me, but it’s time to move on.
There's a real intimacy in selling hats to people. You have to get up close (“I’m going to measure your head”) and be patient, you need to listen, coax, encourage, and connect - it’s a fleeting instance of genuine, close human interaction. However, now that people know the shop, and know me - I can get that connection just by chatting. I don’t have to touch your head with a measuring tape anymore (unless you ask nicely).
So - with all that fluff - I’m saying thank you for all you’ve done for me, and very best wishes to my old pals, The Hats. At the end of June, all my stock, hat-making tools, ribbons, feathers and trimmings will be packed up and taken out of Kate and Abel - hopefully off to a new, energised hat-maker/seller (will keep you posted on that).
The shop will live on, and there will be something lovely and new for us to talk about.