MG Creates Handmade hat studio in New York's garment district

The Milliners Guild gives a glimpse into their world  by transforming the Garment District Alliance’s 38th Street window display into the  ultimate hat-maker’s studio.

The Milliners Guild is a national non-profit organization  whose mission is to increase the public’s awareness of the skillset and products used in  the trade. The organization celebrates this year’s New York Textile Month with a  fashionable showcase of beautiful textiles, millinery tools and hats made by its talented members. 

Perfect for the change of season, the Milliners Guild’s hat-maker’s window showcases fall hats designed by 24 members.

Perfect for the change of season, the Milliners Guild’s hat-maker’s window showcases fall hats designed by 24 members.

Milliners Guild’s membership of milliners, millinery small business owners and millinery students began in New York in 2007 after the closing of a well-known hat contractor and some popular millinery suppliers. The purpose was to support those who design, produce and promote handmade headwear. It has since grown into a platform for members across the US, offering education, access to resources and global exposure. 

Perfect for the change of season, the Milliners Guild’s hat-maker’s window showcases fall hats designed by 24 members using their brand’s colors; white, coral and black. Hat lovers and fashionistas can not only see this wonderful collection during New York Fashion Week, but any passersby is reminded that they are in the heart of the garment district where textiles take front stage. 

The display features hand sewn and hand blocked hats emphasizing the importance of fur felt as a staple material used by the hat industry for hundreds of years. Today, many milliners use fur felts certified 100% European domestic raised rabbit (for domestic use, ie: eating) and the fur is a by-product used to make clothing and hat velours. Some of the designers will focus on showing the beauty and versatility of this material as well as silks, velvets, wools, and leather. 

The Milliners Guild window display will run September 3 - October 9, 2019
at 215 W 38th Street, New York, NY 10018. This will mark the second exhibition this year for the Guild. Most recently the group exhibited their ‘Camp’ and ‘Instruments of Rock & Roll’ themed creations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Mezzanine Gallery. 

Saturday, September 14th, 2019, 4pm,
Milliners Guild members will meet at the 215 W. 38th St. window display for photos and conversation with visitors. Free and open to the public. If you would like more information contact Lisa McFadden

Milliners' Guild Members receive recognition in international millinery competition

MG member Laura Del Villagio received second place in the recent HATalk Hat Making Competition 2019 with her feathered headpiece entitled Belinda, created for the contest theme of "Equilibrium." Congratulations, Laura! The judges comments on Laura's stunning vintage-inspired entry were: "Superb design and finish. Incredible feather mounting and detail work went into making this headpiece. It is beautifully made with difficult fabrics, including sparterie, and offers an interesting twist on a vintage style."

(left, Laura Del Villagio's "Belinda" headpiece; right, back detail of "Belinda")

Guild members Kimberly D'Auria, who received special recognition, and Judith Solodkin also entered the HATalk competition. Well done, all three of you! If you missed them, you can view the complete list of contest entries here.

New MG member, Katie Allen, also did well in a recent millinery competition. After winning Best Overall hat in the Millinery Meet-Up competition in September 2018, instructor Louise MacDonald encouraged Katie to enter the Melbourne International Millinery Competition (MIMC). For the MIMC, contestants were randomly assigned one of four Australian student designers' outfits for which to create a hat. Hats needed to both complement the assigned outfit and be at home on the catwalk as well.

About the experience, Katie said: "We were sent material swatches from our assigned outfits and given a few months to create our entry. I was assigned an outfit by the designer Vincci Chan. This was challenging for me as my aesthetic is very different from my assigned outfit, but it was an excellent way to challenge my creativity. I placed in the top 8 out of 77 entries and found the entire competition to be a friendly and welcoming experience for an international entrant." Well done, Katie!

(left, outfit from Australian student designer Vincci Chan; right, Katie Allen's complementary headpiece)

Met Mezz Party

The Milliners Guild once again rocks the Mezzanine Gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

Opening night party attendees looking great!   Back row from left to right:  Barbara Volker, Linda Ashton, Wanda Chambers, Judith Solodkin, Michael McCants, Sally Caswell and Lisa McFadden.  Front row:  Kathy Anderson and June Gumbel.

Opening night party attendees looking great!
Back row from left to right: Barbara Volker, Linda Ashton, Wanda Chambers, Judith Solodkin, Michael McCants, Sally Caswell and Lisa McFadden. Front row: Kathy Anderson and June Gumbel.

The "Met Mezz" gallery once again welcomed hats from the Guild on the themes of "Rock & Roll" and "Camp." The opening night party of this popular show was well attended and lots of fun, and we've heard that the last two millinery exhibits have drawn many more museum visitors than usual upstairs--a win/win for both Guild and gallery. Thanks once again to member Judith Solodkin for facilitating this fantastic opportunity for fellow MG members!

Headwear Association Dinner Spring 2019

The Milliners Guild represents another side of hat-wearing at the annual Headwear Association dinner!
by Wanda Chambers


The 111th Headwear Association Dinner and Fashion Show was held at Central Park's Loeb Boathouse in NYC on April 12. The annual dinner is a unique opportunity for milliners, who often work alone or with a small staff, to network with large manufacturers. While everyone at the event is technically a competitor, the mood is always supportive and friendly. Everyone looks forward to returning the next year.

The event kicked off with the business meeting. The most relevant issue for milliners that we discussed was California's enactment last August of Proposition 65, the regulation of trims and other components used in the manufacture of hats.

After the meeting, attendees enjoyed cocktails, hors-d'oeuvres, photos, and networking. During dinner, various awards were presented, including the annual award to a Fashion Institute of Technology student of millinery. The culminating event was the hat fashion show, which included 14 hats by Milliners Guild members along with hats from various manufacturers.

Guild members won big at MMU 2018!

by Sally Caswell

All the guild members present at Millinery Meet Up 2018 participated in the hat competition. (June was nowhere to be found when we took the picture, so she is missing.). Laura del Villagio won second place in the Popular Vote, I won Best Interpretation of the Theme, and Kathy got Honorable Mention. Pretty good for Guild representation!

MG members present at MMU this year were Kathy Anderson, Laura Del Villagio, Ray Hatfield, Judith Solodkin, Sally Caswell, Kim Fraser, and June Gumbel.

MG members present at MMU this year were Kathy Anderson, Laura Del Villagio, Ray Hatfield, Judith Solodkin, Sally Caswell, Kim Fraser, and June Gumbel.

(Editor's note: Current MG member Katie Allen was not yet a member of the guild at MMU, but she did win Best Overall in the MMU competition.)

Hattalk Newsletter January 2017

The Milliners Guild is featured in the St. Catherine's Day article of the January 2017 HatTalk Newsletter.

Mad Hatters - New York Hats and Hatmakers at City Lore Gallery

City Lore is pleased to announce its current exhibition, MAD HATTERS: NEW YORK HATS AND HATMAKERS at its East Village gallery and cultural center on First Street with an opening reception on May 19th from 7-9pm. 

In New York City, every hat has something to say. New Yorkers wear many hats – literally. Many of us get dressed from the hat down. Whether we are going to Baptist church to the mosque or the orthodox synagogue, to the rumble or the dance, to the Easter Parade or the West Indian Carnival; whether we’re wearing a Hijab or a yarmulke, a Fedora or a Hamburg, a pork pie or a Leopard skin pillbox hat; whether you’re running for president or going to a Mets game, hats matter – and tell the rest of us who we are. 

Mad Hatters showcases the identities that New Yorkers carve out for themselves by donning a simple piece of headware in a crowded city. With special attention to the City’s defining grassroots folk cultures, the exhibit pays tribute to NYC’s master milliners while also documenting and celebrating the men and women who proudly wear hats to express their cultural traditions or simply for the hell of it. The show features a series of special hats made for the show by the New York Milliners Guild, illustrating “New York hat-itude.” 

“Cock your hat, angles are attitude,” said Frank Sinatra, a New Yorker at heart. Hats were so important during his time, that Mr. Sinatra had his signature fedoras specially designed with shorter brims than the average ones in order to appear taller to the untrained eye. Sinatra never left his hat at home and neither did the rest of the city during his time. Hats were a necessity, not only for fashion, but for blocking the sun as well. In the 1950’s, however, the mass-production of sunglasses and the prevalence of automobiles, not to mention James Dean’s coveted quaff, ushered in a new era where the everyday hat was no longer needed. But New Yorkers have never left behind their love of hats. In a city of astonishing diversity and traditions, there are still a lot of mad hatters running around the streets of New York. 

Presented in association with the Westchester Arts Council which staged the show “Hattitude” in 2015 at their White Plains Gallery.

Night & Day


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...the stunning works of some of the city’s (and country’s!) best milliners on display...

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TimeOut New York

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St. Catherine's Day Parade 2011 Coverage


Time Out New York

Fascinators, cloches and even a headband sprouting branches and twigs were worn with pride during the Milliners Guild's St. Catherine's Day march through Manhattan. The group of mostly women, and a few fedora-festooned men made its way from the Fashion District to Bryant Park and then the Bard Graduate Center, which is currently showing "Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones." Though some of these  toppers won't keep your noggin warm this winter, they're sure to turn heads.


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Easter Parade 2012 Coverage

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The Headwear Association Dinner in New York

Lots of new faces were in attendance – Young and Old – Young at heart and old timers with stories to tell.

It was also one of the largest crowds – 125 to be exact - with people coming from 10 different countries. The talented (and exuberant) hatters from the Milliners Guild in NYC came to the dinner as well. And, Mother Nature made sure that the weather was terrific (given the time of the year).

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