Barbara Feinman
Barbara Feinman

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How did you become interested in millinery?

It was serendipity. I was always involved in fashion, sewing, art, making things, collecting bits and pieces of decorative stuff, etc., but never thought of hat-making as a career. Then, when I was at a transition point in my life, fed up with the corporate world, my best friend registered for a textile design course at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. She learned of the millinery program and decided that it would be perfect for me. And she kept nagging me until I registered for a course. It was love at first sight. The moment I walked into that millinery studio, I felt that I had come home.

Where (and when) did you learn millinery?

I took the 4-part program at FIT and got my certificate in 1992.

How long have you been a milliner? Where else did you work?

I actually sold a few hats before finishing the FIT program. After getting my certificate, I worked for a short stint at Eric Javits.

After working for Javits, I started selling wholesale, working out of my apartment. A big help at that point (around 1993, 1994) was a very large wholesale order from Barney’s, for which I was fortunate to get paid, as they were on the verge of bankruptcy. I was able to keep most of that money, as my overhead was nonexistent.

For 2 to 3 years prior to 1998, I shared a studio in the East Village with an associate, and sold my hats in her shop. Then in 1998 I opened my own store in the East Village. Since then, I have sold mostly retail, with a smaller proportion of wholesale.

How did you become interested in millinery?

It was serendipity. I was always involved in fashion, sewing, art, making things, collecting bits and pieces of decorative stuff, etc., but never thought of hat-making as a career. Then, when I was at a transition point in my life, fed up with the corporate world, my best friend registered for a textile design course at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. She learned of the millinery program and decided that it would be perfect for me. And she kept nagging me until I registered for a course. It was love at first sight. The moment I walked into that millinery studio, I felt that I had come home.

Where (and when) did you learn millinery?

I took the 4-part program at FIT and got my certificate in 1992.

How long have you been a milliner? Where else did you work?

I actually sold a few hats before finishing the FIT program. After getting my certificate, I worked for a short stint at Eric Javits.

After working for Javits, I started selling wholesale, working out of my apartment. A big help at that point (around 1993, 1994) was a very large wholesale order from Barney’s, for which I was fortunate to get paid, as they were on the verge of bankruptcy. I was able to keep most of that money, as my overhead was nonexistent.

For 2 to 3 years prior to 1998, I shared a studio in the East Village with an associate, and sold my hats in her shop. Then in 1998 I opened my own store in the East Village. Since then, I have sold mostly retail, with a smaller proportion of wholesale.