Meet Handcrafted America’s Artisan Natalie Simmons, Carolina Millinery Company

Natalie Simmons, Carolina Millinery Company

Natalie Simmons’ fashion design career took an unexpected turn when she enrolled in a hat making class. Studying hat design brought back poignant memories of her childhood, particularly, of her grandmother wearing beautiful, fashionable hats.

Today, Natalie specializes in handmade hats for women and men, with signature styles inspired by 1920s through 1940s styles.

In her studio, she hand blocks, sews and trims each hat individually using the millinery techniques she studied and continues to learn. Her designs fit every personality and occasion—from elegant to everyday to wildly whimsical! She’s even had one of her hat designs on display in the Kentucky Derby Hat Museum.

Meet Natalie…

What drew you to your chosen craft?

I have always had a love for fashion and decided to pursue fashion design as a career. After stumbling upon a hat making course I fell in love with the art of hat making. The course reminded me of my childhood and seeing my grandmother in her beautiful hats.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

I enjoy making beautiful things. There is something magical about being surrounded by vintage ribbons, buttons, beads, furs and straw.

Why is it important for people to make things with their own hands?

I believe the more we create with our hands, appreciation for handmade quality will increase.

In what ways are handmade goods better than those that are mass produced?

I do believe handmade is better than mass produced when it comes to hats. The factory approach is one size fits all which gives many of us the false notion that we don’t look good in hats. We can look good in hats but it starts with fit. If something doesn’t fit, no it won’t look good. Handmade hats offer the ability to be fitted not just for head size but crown height and brim proportion.

What does the future hold for your type of work?

I believe the future holds more awareness for hats. Hats shouldn’t be thought of as just an item to be worn for special occasions but as an everyday accessory.


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