If you are from the Kansas City area, then it's very likely you've heard of Amina Marie Millinery. Amina's modern and elegant headpieces have been seen in the pages of local magazines, on the runway and on the most fashionable women of the city.
Asiatica is collaborating with Amina for our Kansas City Fashion Week collection and we have had the great pleasure of spending time with her over the past couple months in preparation for the show. We thought you'd enjoy a Q&A with Amina, hear her story and see some of her gorgeous hats.
Asiatica: What was your first introduction to hatmaking?
Amina: Hatmaking for me started as a fluke. A good friend of mine asked me to design her a hat for Burning Man. I laughed at her and told her "I don't make hats." Still, the idea of it sounded like an intriguing challenge, so I crafted a mini top hat to complement her steampunk garb for the desert. After that, I simply fell in love with the art of millinery. I began creating my own designs and studied under a renowned milliner, Jeanne Bjorn.
Asiatica: You’ve traveled to London to compete in the James Lock & Co. Millinery competition. Tell us about that experience.
Amina: The first time I went to London I called my husband and told him "I'm with my people." Last year, I entered a millinery contest on a whim and ended up being the only American finalist in the international James Lock & Co. Millinery Competition in London in 2015. I really had no idea how big of an honor it was to be chosen until I got to London and found out that Lock & Co is the oldest hatmaker in the world and has been in business since 1665. The entire trip was incredible. I had the opportunity to meet many famous milliners at London Hat Week including the milliner to the Queen and Princess Kate. This fall, one of my hats has been chosen for the prestigious London Hat Week 2016 Exhibition.
Asiatica: How would you describe your pieces for the Asiatica SS17 collaboration debuting at Kansas City Fashion Week?
Amina: The headwear I designed for our collaboration is inspired by the Japanese obi. I wanted to create head pieces that have strong lines, fluid movement and great energy. Working with the vintage kimono fabric has been a dream/challenge and I'm excited to see the entire collective on the runway at Kansas City Fashion Week.
Asiatica: You recently moved into a new studio space in east Brookside. What do you love most about it?
Amina: My little hat studio in East Brookside is exactly what I envisioned. The walls are white except for the pops of color from my hats and I have a large work table that I sit at while I hand sew and sculpt each of my creations. I share a studio with textile artist Debbie Barrett-Jones and am next door to Golden & Pine. It's an exciting time for East Brookside with many new businesses moving in and I'm thrilled to be part of the new developments.
Asiatica: How has living and working in Kansas City shaped your business?
Amina: Kansas City and the arts and business community has been very supportive of me and my business. I've had continual opportunities to share my work and I feel that it's really a wonderful place to start and develop a business. On the other hand, navigating a millinery business from Kansas City is not always ideal, but with internet and social media I am able to reach clients globally.
Asiatica: What are your next goals for Amina Marie Millinery?
Amina: I love this question! Amina Marie Millinery is currently launching a manufactured line of hats to reach a larger global market. Look for my ready-to-wear line to be in select stores in 2017.
All photographs courtesy of Meg Kumin Photography.
Kansas City Fashion Week / Asiatica + Amina Marie Millinery
When: Friday, October 14, 2016, 8pm
Where: Union Station, 30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108
Tickets and more info: kcfashionweek.com