The summer sun down under can really bite. I recall spending some time in Sydney in ’06 when my family and I would hurriedly rush out of the sun, in between buildings, in Sydney city. The fact that we’d turn the corner, escaping the sun’s biting rays, only to be hit by icy drafts funneled between skyscrapers is another matter. But recalling that incident and after attending the press preview, it’s almost given that a beautifully hand-crafted hat brand would hail from Australia. Introducing Helen Kaminski.
Helen Kaminski has been around since 1983. They’ve got a strong presence in Australia. They are also popular in America and, closer to home, Japan and Korea as well. Starting 2015, the hats featured in this blog post will be available at Club 21b.
Personally, I found myself preferring the Kaminski XY designs, essentially all the masculine designs. Most of which boast features such as ‘roll-a-bility’, water resistance and UPF 50+ sun protection. Also, because this range is designed for men, the hat brims come in different sizes, to fit my big head.
Their signature style utilizes Madagascan raffia which contain natural resins. These imbue the raffia with strength and flexibility. According to an infographic in their release, a ‘Provence 12’ (floppy sun hat) has 18,000 stitches and requires 2.5 days of hand crocheting to complete. All Helen Kaminski hats also boast no visible knots nor joints. (!!)
Depending on design, it can also take up to 85 metres of braided raffia to make one hat.
As a brand, especially one whose key raw material is so closely connected with the earth, Helen Kaminski articulates a strong and long-standing commitment to sustainable materials and practices. In 2007, the brand received the Fashion Group International’s Sustainable Design Award for their eco-friendly design principles. They are also invested in conserving traditional handcraft techniques by working with local communities in Madagascar and Sri Lanka.
Designed for the globe-trotting citizen in mind, Helen Kaminski hats with the string at the crown brim line (above) can be rolled up and squished into your suitcase for a beach holiday (or any holiday for that matter!) and they promise to keep its shape! Just unroll and they should pop back into shape.
So you can do away with bulky hat boxes and trunkloads of travel “essentials”, unless you plan to show off that extensive Louis Vuitton trunk collection you’ve been amassing, and pack light, pack efficient instead.
I much prefer (and can afford!) the fuss-free latter.
Bags, pouches, cases were added to the product line in 2004. They were very nice and very well made, but none of them really caught my eye.
Was much more preoccupied taking selfies with different hats on. 😀
Keep your eyes peeled for when they hit Club 21b in 2015!