“When we talk about hats, people are often not aware of one thing:
everything starts from animal hair.”
From hair to hats
The Master Hat Makers receive animal hair in large untidy balls, from which they obtain FELT. Many think that felt is a fabric, in fact it is not. Fabric is made of warp and weft, which alternate in an orderly, regular pattern, while felt is unorderly ‘by nature’ and is the result of the ‘messy thickening’ of hair.
Felt has many qualities: it is warn, resistant, waterproof and breathable. In short, it is the best thing one can put on the most important part of one’s body: the head.
Felting machines produce a felt cone. Every cone will become a unique masterpiece, different from any other in terms of weight and type of hair. The entirely artisanal manufacturing process contributes to making hats even more special.
‘White’ manufacturing stage
The ‘rough’ cone in the natural colour of the animal hair is then DYED in the dying baths. This is a very critical stage: Borrione’s Master Hat Makers know that small-molecule dyes and specific temperatures & timing are required, and, particularly, very well-stirred baths to ensure a final even colour.
After being dyed, the cone moves on to the Forming stage. It is during this stage that the cone is shaped and starts looking like a hat. Wooden moulds, blocks and frames to shape the brims are crucial tools at this stage, hand-made by a skilful carpenter. This is a vital step for the cone and a magic one for the Master Hat Maker, who becomes the creator of a masterpiece in the midst of a steam cloud. It is just because felt is thermoformable that the initial cone can finally turn into a real hat.
The Master Hat Maker now defines the size, oval shape, and circumference of each hat.
This is the customisation stage, when the hat is finished and perfected to become a stylish, fashionable accessory. It will up to Borrione’s creativity, current trends, and the customer’s taste whether that hat will have a band, a lace edging, an inside leather band, or whatever else.
The final objective is always the same: endowing each hat with a unique, unmistakable personality.