Hats have been around for a very long time. They can protect you from the elements, advertise your favorite sports franchise or even be a status symbol. In the era of mass production, most hats are replicated in the millions then carelessly distributed. Yet in a Copenhagen workshop, the craft of hat making survives and thrives.
I recently sat down with the second generation hat maker Stig Andersen to ask him a few questions about him trade.
I love hats. I made my first hat when I was five years old – it was a cowboy hat. When I got older, I went to school studying hat making. Ever since then I have worked with hats.
This may be hard but, do you have a favorite?
I like the old school top hat. To me it’s the most stylish.
What’s the history of Andersen and Berner?
My father started this company in 1946 with a friend Berner. After completing school in 1979 I started working here myself. Finally in 1985, I bought the company from my father.
Can you give us a glimpse of the hat making process?
Every hat comes from a form. There are lots of forms, we make about eighty new forms each year (we keep our old forms in storage). The forms are mostly made in Germany, crafted by hand in a workshop just like this one. But sometimes the old forms are the best, the styles from the old times are classics.
Where are your customers from?
These hats are sold to all over the world. USA, Germany, France, Japan – and lots more. I have been working with a customer in Japan for fifteen years. We have never met in real life, but we speak frequently on the phone and online. Someday I plan on visiting him in Japan.