Hatmaking or millinery is the design, manufacture and sale of hats and head-ware. A person engaged in this trade is called a milliner or hatter.
Millinery is sold to women, men and children, though some definitions limit the term to women's hats. Historically, milliners, typically female shopkeepers, produced or imported an inventory of garments for men, women, and children, including hats, shirts, cloaks, shifts, caps, neckerchiefs, and undergarments, and sold these garments in their millinery shop.
More recently, the term milliner has evolved to describe a person who designs, makes, sells or trims hats primarily for a female clientele.
The origin of the term is probably the Middle English milener, meaning an inhabitant of the city of Milan or one who deals in items from Milan, known for its fashion and clothing.
Many styles of headgear have been popular through history and worn for different functions and events. They can be part of uniforms or worn to indicate social status. Styles include the top hat, hats worn as part of military uniforms, cowboy hat, and cocktail hat.
Notable hatters and milliners
This is a partial list of people who have had a significant influence on hatmaking and millinery.
- International Hat Company, an American manufacturer credited with inventing one of America's most popular early 20th century harvest hats for field hands, farmers, and workmen.
- Hawley Products Company, an American manufacturer credited with inventing the tropical shaped, pressed fiber sun helmet used from World War II through the Persian Gulf War.
- John Cavanagh, an American hatter whose innovations included manufacturing regular, long and wide-oval fitting hats to enable customers to find better-fitting ready-to-wear hats.
- James Lock & Co. of London (founded 1676), is credited with the introduction of the bowler hat in 1849.
- John Batterson Stetson, credited with inventing the classic cowboy hat
- Giuseppe Borsalino, with the famous "Borsalino" Fedora hat.
- Anna Ben-Yusuf wrote The Art of Millinery (1909), one of the first reference books on millinery technique.
- Rose Bertin, milliner and modiste to Marie Antoinette, is often described as the world's first celebrity fashion designer.
- John Boyd was one of London's most respected milliners and is known for the famous pink tricorn hat worn by Diana, Princess of Wales.
- Lilly Daché was a famous American milliner of the mid-20th century.
- Frederick Fox was an Australian born milliner noted for his designs for the British Royal family.
- Mr. John was an American milliner considered by some to be the millinery equivalent of Dior in the 1940s and 1950s.
- Stephen Jones of London, is considered one of the world's most radical and important milliners of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
- Simone Mirman was known for her designs for Elizabeth II and other members of the British Royal Family.
- Caroline Reboux was a renowned milliner of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
- David Shilling is a renowned milliner, artist and designer based in Monaco.
- Justin Smith is an award-winning milliner creating bespoke and couture hats under the J Smith Esquire brand.
- Philip Treacy of London is an award-winning milliner.