These rainy days always make me see the hat-shaped hole in my life. Luckily Brooklyn-based Tracy Watts is making hats that suit not just the weather, but also my style. I got an inside peek into her studio, housed in a historic factory building near the Gowanus Canal, and was able to see her tools, her materials, her design inspiration, and, of course, hats galore.
Tracy Watts has been in the hat business since 1993 and has kept her standards for design and materials high. The stitching is impeccable and you feel the quality once you have one in your hands. All hats are made by hand using antique machines and artificer methods and Tracy puts the finishing touches on each and every hat. Utilizing both traditional cut and sew and hand blocking methods, these hats are meant to last a very long time. You can read more about Tracy’s hat making methods on her website here.
Many pieces from Tracy’s new line are named for Brooklyn beaches, including a Howard Beach Cotton Canvas B Cap, a Seagate Glazed Japanese Toyo Straw Hat, and a Rockaway Foldable Fedora. My personal favorites from the new collection are the Slick Rain Hat and the Fawcett Cotton Canvas Baseball Cap, pictured below (photos courtesy Tracy Watts).
Next door to her studio is a showroom that is open to the public, a perk for locals who want to try on a few before making a purchase. There you will also see pieces from past collections and see a sort-of timeline of her work as a milliner.
Photography: Rima Brindamour