Krystyna Schweizer is a hat maker based in Irymple near Mildura, Victoria, in the Outback of Australia. Her creations are a celebration of diversity, ranging from hats-as-art through to hats for fashion wear and everyday use. All hats are handmade by Krystyna in her backyard railway carriage workshop. Originally from Switzerland, Krystyna, born in 1950, spent much of her childhood in a tribal village in the Belgian Congo (Africa) and migrated to Australia in the early 1970s. Wisdom gained from her former occupations as nurse, social worker and organic grower have strongly influenced her social enterprise approach to business. It also reflects her life commitment to social justice and sustainability. The only person sweating in her workshop is herself! Krystyna describes her business as a humble, one woman cottage craft ‘hands on’, low budget enterprise without the bells and whistles of modern tourism/fashion industry. Keep it simple – Keep it small – Keep control. Krystyna has won a Mad Hatters Award at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival.
Since 1992 she has created over 10,000 hats. “I travel to several major folk festivals every year, selling my outrageous, environmentally sustainable homemade hats from recycled vintage materials. The majority of my clientele are performing artists.” Bette Midler wears one of her Hat Ensembles. Paul McCartney (Beatles) has commented on my hats. She has been labelled ‘The Bob Dylan of Hats’ (people’s choice). Her latest craze is making illustrations portraying the current Australian political circus depicting journalist, politicians and some celebrities using her homemade hats as a metaphor.