I am a self-taught hat maker from Bucharest, Romania. I've come from a family with a heritage in craftsmanship, starting with my grandfather who was a shoemaker, and my father who restores classic cars.
I was introduced by my father to the world of movies and music and this is how I discovered the western spaghetti movies and saw all that western hats and old styles of clothing had to offer, which triggered a passion for hats from an early age.
About four years ago, I began to search for books and information about this old, almost lost trade and began teaching myself the art of hat making.
In 2017 I purchased my first vintage hat blocks and the journey began. The learning process involves many hours of practice and deconstruction of old hats and then trying to make them back. After three years of studying, I’m still learning with every hat that I make, trying to achieve a fine-quality product.
Each hat is made using vintage tools and old-century techniques, mixed with new smart ones for better efficiency. My hats are shaped by hand to the desired crown shape, then hand-sewn from start to finish.
All of my hats are made from the finest materials including beaver, nutria or rabbit fur felt with genuine sweatband leather and vintage trimmings combined with handmade accessories.
The custom hats are made after I agree on the design, colours, and accessories with the client to ensure it meets their exact requirements.
The process of hat making begins with the felt body which is steamed to loosen the fibres and then blocked on a wood, metal or plastic hat block. I then tie up with a tight cord to fix the material on the block and leave it to dry for a day. A lot of hard work is involved to make a perfect fit and shape.
Tell us a bit more about you.
What is your personal wardrobe essential? The piece you couldn’t live without?
My essential piece is my pair of Red Wing Iron Ranger, these boots are so great and the craftsmanship is top-notch.
In your work, what values do you cherish the most?
In my work as a hat maker, the values that make all this possible are Gratitude, Patience, Creativity, Innovation, Honesty, Work Smarter and Harder, Passion, Appreciation and non-stop learning. The most important thing of all is to stay true to yourself.All this combined makes this journey possible.
What is your favourite album, artist or Spotify playlist?
I would recommend the "Keep my belly full" album by the Big Creek Slim, this is a great blues record to have around.
Any recommendations on the best podcast to listen to?
I listen to the legendary Joe Rogan podcast, I would recommend the podcast of Dr Andrew Huberman, it's a lot of good and essential information about human behaviour and how the human brain works.
Photography Credit - Sapovalov Octavian - The Hat Butcher