3D printed hats are no longer a future fantasy. Designer and Artist H E I D I L E E uses Shapeways 3D printing to create fashion and hats inspired by contemporary, avant-garde classical music. She spoke with us about her fascinating process that fuses a MacGyver approach and no boundaries mindset. Her work is so cutting edge that she’s featured in the upcoming NYC Makers: MAD Biennial exhibition here in NYC. Read on!
H E I D I L E E Cocktail Parasol Hat photo: Bryan Davis
How did you discover your passion for making hats?
I was challenged to create fashion inspired by contemporary, avant-garde classical music. I never intended to sell my pieces, but people began to notice my work and it grew from there, and over a span of time it has developed into a remarkable line.
What is your day-to-day work life like?
It varies from day to day, and depends on which pieces I’m focusing on to make. Each hat has a completely different workflow and process than the other, so I enjoy the variety of solutions each needs to enfold into being. I try to take a MacGyver-like approach to making my hats.
Where did you learn how to design and develop your incredible creations?
I apprenticed under milliner Victor Osborne. He recently moved to France to continue making haute-couture hats for runway shows such as Thom Browne (Recipient of the 2013 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award and 2012 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Fashion) and Dior for Paris Fashion Week. My uncle also instructed me, having worked in the American millinery industry for over 30 years, producing hats for designers, whose lines are carried at Barneys New York and Saks 5th Avenue. They inspired me to forge my own path in making hats that are sensible, yet innovative in headwear.