Who is Karema Deodato?

Karema Deodato is a mother, a wife an entrepreneur and a skilled milliner. She creates luxurious hats for the uber chic consumer. She is a habitué of fashion with a keen focus on the artistry, innovation and flawless construction of many great and also forgotten early designers. Her millinery techniques are inspired by couturiers and fashion designers from the early 1900's alongside modern techniques and aesthetics. 

 What does a hat symbolize to you? 

Many things: art, glamour, necessity but most of all a hat represents confidence in oneself. It is often the last thing to put on but the first thing that people see on you!

 How did you become a milliner?

I grew up inspired by my grandmothers, one a confectioner and the other a dressmaker and embroiderer. My mother also did quite a bit of sewing so she always had materials around. As a teenager, I made my first hat, a small black velvet fez. Perfectly charming with such old world elegance but yet it had a jaunty modern twist. From then on my obsession to create artistic headpieces was born. I later perfected my craft while working at the Metropolitan Opera-an incredible experience and education in costume and sewing history!

 How long have you been designing and making hats under the label Karema Deodato Millinery?

Karema Deodato Millinery has been in existence since 1999

Ater 9/11 I took a break. My daughter was born in 2012. I began to design and create again in 2012.

 What inspires you?

Nature, its unspoiled beauty and many surprises. From my memories of the vast open sea from my sailing trips as a little girl, to the dizzyingly high altitude of the Colca Valley in Peru that I visited years ago. Days in the country at our old farmhouse picking wildflowers and berries with my daughter. A child's boundless imagination is forever inspiring to me! 

And of course my customers! Who would I be making hats for if it were not for them? 


Explain to us the process of making a hat?

The process begins with the customer -what is their lifestyle, their color palette? I measure their head and then I get to work!

 Let's say I'm making a felt fedora: 

• the felt gets steamed and then molded around a hat block (usually made of solid wood) 

• then set in a special oven or air set overnight

• The felt can then be removed from the mold and lacquered if needed to stiffen and maintain its shape

• the finishing is done -wiring the brim, stitching in the sweatband

• then embellishment trims are added 

 This is just one of the many processes. Felt can also be draped free form on the block which is a very improvisational technique that I love!


What material do you use to make your hats?

It depends on the season. I love the feel of luxurious fabrics. In the Fall and Winter, I love cashmere and rabbit fur felts. I'm also an obsessive knitter so I try to incorporate hand knitted trims in a couple of styles for the winter. In the summer a lightweight natural colored straw is a must and I cannot live without a white tablecloth linen bucket hat. Right now I am working with a beautiful assortment of menswear shirting fabrics from Italy: windowpane plaids, checks, ginghams and clipped dot stripes-yum! 

 Which one (material) is your favorite and why?

That's a tough one but I'll have to say I love fur felt the best. It is so unique and chameleon -like in the way it becomes so malleable when steamed -the possibilities are endless with this material. Oh and it feels like pure luxury.

 Often people say “I love hats, but I don’t look good in them” would you agree?

No absolutely not! There is a good hat for everyone. That is why a custom hat is the best way to go.

 Are your hats accessible to the public and where?

Yes, at my website 

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 What is your biggest fear?

Not living life fully -as Mark Twain said "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man/woman who lives fully is prepared to die at any time"

 Describe a day in your life

I wake up around 5:45 AM, grab my coffee and mentally organize my day. I wake up my 5-year-old from her peaceful sleep to get her ready for school, drop her off and then the constant hustle, filling orders, social media, emails, talking to suppliers, creating new designs and if I'm lucky I'll go to the garment district where I'm surrounded by beautiful felts and fabrics. I try to control my temptation to buy everything-not easy!

 Evenings are family time, once I put my daughter to bed I wind myself down with a good read or some knitting and then it's eyes shut!!