Hat design is a lot more complicated than it looks. It requires three dimensional process, more like building a sculpture than most fashion design. When designing a hat for mass production, it’s common to make a pre-production sample. This proto-hat can then be modified to the designers wishes and to accommodate the needs of manufacturing.
Considerations that a designer pays attention to when figuring out how to make a new hat style are buyer appeal, the practical wearability of the design, and how much the finished hat will cost. A work of art is of no use to a hat manufacturer if it is expensive to produce or uncomfortable to wear. The specific requirements a designer will have to consider vary depending on the audience the hat is to be marketed to. Each different marketing group has its own preferences as far as price and style. A successful designer will be familiar with many groups and know how to make a hat that will please them.
There are several steps to the production of a hat, once the design has been finalized. Just what happens to any given hat will depend on the kind of production that it is intended for. There are designer hats, made in limited runs, factory hats, which most of us wear, and examples of model millinery. This last one is the creation of a single design that will not be duplicated.
It’s possible for the designer to be more creative when designing a model hat. Designer hats and factory hats both need to be easily reproducible. Designer hats, however, can be hand sewn and made, allowing more flexibility of design. This is because people who buy designer hats are more willing to pay for the time that these methods of construction require. Factory hats must be able to be constructed on machines, quickly and easily. This means that they are often made with lower quality materials and construction than designer and model hats. It also makes them more affordable.
The average person is more likely to own a factory manufactured hat than a couture design of either kind, even the designer hats which are produced in limited lots. They are often worn for special occasions, or are casual hats, like the baseball cap. These hats are usually bought for their look rather than for quality, and designers must pay attention to this and keep the price low. However, too much loss of quality in production will result in a shoddy hat, which could also affect sales. For all these reasons, hat design is a complicated skill, which requires a lot of attention and training.