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Community Highlights: Meet Alexander Westwood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexander Westwood.

Hi Alexander, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Before I started hat making, I was an engineer in the US Air Force. My job included a lot of flying around the country, and on one such trip early in my career, a man struck up a conversation with me at the Denver Airport. He was a hatmaker who supplied a lot of the hats for the military, specifically for drill instructors. He gave me his card and we parted ways. Years later as I was getting out of the Air Force and cleaning out my desk, I found his card in the back of a drawer. I reached out to him – I met him at the beginning of this chapter of my life, and I figured it would be poetic to get a personalized hat to close out this chapter of my life.

I’ve never really worn hats before that – but after my getting to design my first hat, I was hooked. There were other styles that I wanted, ones that I had seen in movies or ones that I dreamed up myself, but they weren’t readily available. So I started doing research and learning. I was lucky and found a very small group of peers that were starting out as well and a few select mentors that wanted to pass on the art of hatmaking. I spent the first few years on mastering the basics and the next few defining my own style.

I’m at a happy place now. I have a little workshop/showroom set up in El Segundo. My intention is to always keep the brand small so that I can focus on building quality hats.

What else should we know about what you do?
I build custom hats. I’m known for wide brims, tall crowns, and very bold hat shapes.

The crafting process is deeply collaborative with the client, and one of the most important details I need is to understand where, when, and how the client is wearing the hat. This helps to adapt my style of hat with the client’s vision. The process usually starts with a visit to my workshop to take head size and shape measurements, trying on a few ready-made hats to get an idea of proportions, and viewing swatch samples in different lights. For clients outside my locale, I like to have a conversation to provide design guidance.

I focus on sourcing American, sourcing local or sourcing vintage. Most of the design details such as headbands are one-of-a-kind that use ribbon or fabric that I’ve found at antique markets or vintage stores. The hat, materials, and build quality are made to last a lifetime – therefore I tailor my designs so that the hat style itself is timeless.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
I’ve been seeing the hat trend grow over the last few years. Hats are one of the first things you see when you meet a person. So if that hat is well made, or unique and interesting, it’s going to generate some interest. Thats why I think the hat trend will continue to grow.

I think we’re also reaching a saturation point of the fast fashion and throwaway culture that has been dominating the fashion industry. There’s been a race to the bottom price, and quality has followed with it. I think people are realizing: instead of having ten hats they got at the mall that they don’t really love and don’t really wear, they’d rather have one hat that they love and that they hand down.

I’m most proud of being a small, word-of-mouth business that delivers quality. I want to keep building hats at the same pace I’m going now. I’m working slowly and deliberately so that each hat has my full attention. I think that’s the magic of Alexander Westwood, and why people find it so special.

Pricing:

  • Pricing ranges from $600 to $800

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Ali Ennen Taryn Pastoor

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