I spend too much time browsing instagram for inspiration and interesting things to write about. I’m a huge fan of Rupaul’s Drag Race and was looking through the tag when I came across some amazing head pieces by someone named The Fab Hatter. Their name is Fang and lots of their pieces are influenced by what the queens on RPDR wear along with Fang’s own touch of unique styles.
Fang (pictured above with one of their works) was able to do a small interview with me so I could learn more about where all these ideas come from.
What are your inspirations for making your pieces?
Fang: Basically, 90% of what I see I want to turn into a hat, but my major influences include
drag queens, club kids, art, pop culture, toys, taxidermy, animals, and food. I have absolutely no fashion or millinery background, I studied genetic engineering and politics, so I’m no constrained by traditional ideas of what a hat should be.
Almost all of my hats are made of unusual or found materials.
How long does it take you to make each one and how did your business get started?
F: Sometimes hats take years to make as I gather the parts or just because I get side-tracked with other things.
Generally speaking, prototype hats takes 10-15 hours each of actual construction time to make, once I get the technique down I can typically make them in around 2-5 hours.
I started making and wearing unusual hats a few years ago. It was after watching S1E1 and seeing Ongina’s Barbie headpiece that I realized hats didn’t have to be so mundane. I started with a lobster hat inspired by Salvador Dali. It was made out of a mouse pad and a loofah. Later, I traveled extensively overseas. I had to travel light so I would stick my souvenirs to a hat and wear them around. My hats started getting me a lot of attention and I had a lot of people buying them off my head or asking me to sell them online, so that’s what I did.
Lacey Noel modeling a piece inspired by season 3 RPDR winner Raja
I see you’re a big fan of Rupaul’s drag race! Who were some of the queens you were rooting for this season? Has any queen from the show seen your work?
F: My favorite queens of this season were Max, Violet, Trixie, and Katya, in no particular order. I’ve already made a couple of Trixie Mattel inspired hats. My favorite Queen of S8 will be Kim Chi, because I don’t understand how she WON’T be cast.
Generally speaking, I love queens who wear hats. My favorites overall are Raja, Manila, and Ongina.
I live in LA and I go to World of Wonder events so I’ve met a few queens there or just hanging around the city. A few of them follow me on social media and have even contacted me stating that they love my pieces too! Off the top of my head, some queens that have seen my work have been Rupaul, Phi Phi O’Hara, Manila Luzon, Ongina, Raja, Raven, Morgan McMichaels, Kelly Mantle, and Langanja Estranja.
I also made the “Carrie” hat that won “Top Toot of the Week” on the Dragcon episode of the Fashion Photo Ruview.
What are some of your favorite hats you’ve made so far?
F: I love all my hats as I’m my own muse. I wear them everyday, I never go out without a hat, even if it’s just for something mundane like going to the grocery store.
My lobster hat that started it all is probably my favorite for sentimental reasons. I also have a percher hat made out of beetle wings for when I want an understated look. I also just made a museum gallery top hat that has digital paintings that play slideshows of modern art.
Do you have any other pieces in the making? If so, can you give us a hint of what they’re influenced by?
F: Last year when I counted I had over 617 hat ideas, for real, that I want to make. I get inspired by something every day. They’re influenced by everything, but the ones that are going to be coming out soon are some hats inspired by art (particularly surrealism), animals, drinks, and monuments. I’ll also be making more drag inspired hats.
I also plan on making unusual hats for chemo patients. They would be close-fitting hats cut to resemble haircuts, but they would be made out of interesting patterned wool. Think neon blue bobs, leopard print Josephine Baker hairdos. I’m still a couple months away from launching that. I need to raise up the money for materials and I need to take millinery classes.
I’m a big supporter of giving back and doing volunteer work, I volunteer at least one full day a week doing charity work. Right now I usually volunteer at a hospital with the critical carepatients or in the Emergency Department. Also for every $100 I sale I donate at least 1 hour of time to charity, since these sales allow me to have a more free schedule that allows me to both continue with my studies and to volunteer.
Where can you find The Fab Hatter?