Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop Yestadt Millinery – Photos by Bridget Badore for The Style Line
“Millinery is a hands-on craft,” millinery designer
Molly Yestadt of her eponymous brand Yestadt Millinery relayed in our interview below, “…being able to touch and feel each piece is key to the design work we do.” Known for quality craftsmanship, quirky details and infusing a sense of character in each hat, the brand has become a dynamic authority in a truly heritage industry. Molly and her team work hard to create a diverse assortment that caters to the modern woman on the move (and her respective personal style), and she attributes much of their approach to design to what’s happening in the world. As she put it in our interview below, “We are constantly bombarded with current events and news breaking in real time. This inevitably works its way into the inspirations of the collection.”
The hats themselves exude a sense of wonder and “presence” as some don lively expressions while others (quite literally) speak for themselves. Even with the inclusion of these embellishments and fun details, Molly still contends that hats serve a purpose beyond vanity – at Yestadt they make sure each product is just as functional as it is fashionable. In fact, you’ll have a chance to see all of these elements for yourself in our studio visit below. Earlier this month we met with the busy designer at her awe-inducing studio in Lower Manhattan for an introductory chat and glimpse into her world. This was our first opportunity to sit down with a milliner, and we were thrilled to have Molly share more of her experiences and what role she believes these coveted accessories play in our day-to-day style. Discover the full feature below.
*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN JANUARY 2016 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT
Hi, I’m Molly Yestadt,
designer and owner of Yestadt Millinery. While most of the time I’m in the studio designing and working on the collection, I do try to have a good time outside of work-life. First off, I cook, a lot. I think it’s still a creative thing for me and its super fun to play with food.
Cooking is awesome because I can share it with the people that I love – lots of good times around the table.
I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Matt Kliegman, so when we have time together it’s usually around our place on the weekends. My husband and I live in Williamsburg and actually share a workspace. What I value most is the time we get to spend together on the weekends not doing anything at all.
Walk us through the evolution of Yestadt – what about millinery design resonates with you the most?
I find millinery to be an amazing creative challenge, designing around the face and with the rest of the ongoing apparel trends in mind. Millinery is a hands-on craft and being able to touch and feel each piece is key to the design work we do.
How would you compare millinery design to fashion/apparel design and in terms of the process, what makes this category so distinct?
A hat finishes the look. Hats are particular as they have the ability to completely change and transform the wearer. It can bring attention, or divert eyes depending on how you wear it or what style you choose.
Yes, of course, can’t make a good hat unless you can wear it yourself! But really, I do end up wearing all of the hats some of the time. There is the design and development work, there is managing a small team, there is running production in New York, the list goes on.
Anyone running a business in New York will tell you, you have to wear many hats.
Why do you think hats are an essential aspect of the modern woman’s wardrobe?
With the rise of personal style, it’s an item that’s all your own. I sometimes like to think about the wear-life like denim. It’s all very particular to the wearer and very personal. Hats really can set you apart like no other accessory can.
It is also a highly functional item. Our summer hats are always made with sun protection in mind whether that’s a straw beach hat or a baseball cap.
Find a mentor and make friends with other business owners and designers. It’s essential to have a network of people who have been through it and who you can compare notes with.
I recently completed the DENYC mini-MBA program, which I would strongly recommend to anyone with their own fashion business.
We are constantly bombarded with current events and news breaking in real time. This inevitably works its way into the inspirations of the collection. Color stories, exotic locations, contemporary changes in the zeitgeist.
The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?
Dress for the day, dress for the fun of it.