Hat Lady

Milliner Amina Hood is turning KC’s fashion scene on its head with her chic chapeaux

Photos by David Allison and Meg Kumin

Talent from Voices &

Kansas City-based Amina Hood studied textile design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, then worked in merchandising and display for a number of major retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus before launching her own business designing and making high-end hats. Her Amina Marie Millinery collection combines traditional techniques and luxury materials for a look that blurs the lines between vintage and modern.

Q. What made you decide to design hats? 

A. I’ve always loved hats. I used to wear my grandmother’s hats and direct fashion shows with my cousins and neighborhood children. A hat is the quintessential accessory—it not only complements the outfit, but more importantly, it draws attention to the features of your face.

Q. How did you learn your craft?

A. I already had a background in textile design, having studied at the Academy of Art San Francisco. To learn the art of hat-making, I took classes from Jeanne Bjorn, a wonderful milliner that lives in Phoenix.

Q. Where do you find inspiration for your designs? 

A. I’m constantly inspired by life. There are so many things that trigger my creative senses. I guess the main ones would be art, fashion and nature. My designs are very sculptural in nature and they are free-form, one-of-kind creations. They are actually wearable works of art. Each design is customized to fit your personality and features.

Q. Who is your style icon?

A. Hands down it would be Coco Channel. I know it seems a bit cliché, but she actually began as a milliner. Her designs embodied everything that I feel is superb about fashion. The simplicity of her clean lines and classic design are timeless. The little black dress was made to be worn with a cocktail hat.

Q. What would you say to someone who likes the look but feels intimidated?

A. I hear this quite a bit: “I just don’t think I’m a hat person,” or “Can I really pull this off?” There’s no better conversation starter than a hat. You’d be surprised how wearing a hat brings confidence—an internal “Hello, I have arrived!” feeling. I always say wearing a hat makes me feel like I can conquer the world.

Q. You’ve said the secret is to find a hat that’s the right shape and design for your face. Are there some styles that are more flattering than others?   

A. Within the millinery world, I suppose there are some rules out there. I really don’t like rules though. I think the best thing to do is try loads of hats on and see what works for you, what style, shape, color or texture complements your features. My clients know right away when they’ve found “The One.”

 Q. What’s coming up next for you?

A. The last few months have been a whirlwind of events, including a solo show at Todd Weiner Gallery, a trunk show at MLB Designs & Boutique, and a millinery workshop and trunk show at the Kansas City Museum. Now, I’m working on my spring collection and booking trunk shows and events for spring. l

See more of Hood’s work—and order your own custom-made design—online at Find Amina Marie Millinery on Facebook to find out about upcoming events and other news. Hood is also available to host private trunk shows; contact her through her website to schedule.