Kate and Matt from Kate + Abel: Hat genius right there.
Bev and I have long had a joke about my inability to find the perfect hat. It’s not because I’m fussy, it’s because I have a pin-head.
Such is it’s pinniness, I often have a good think about position when I’m in a photo with my ‘above-average-headsize’ husband for fear of looking like that freaky headshrunk guy in Beetlejuice… true story.
Anyhoo, I’ve found the answer. To style and function. To future Polo events. Hats for the boof-head, the normal size and the Beetlejuice pinhead guy. Instant style injection.
Nic and Bev, hats ahoy!
Enter Kate Hulett and Matt Bale of ‘Kate and Abel’. We discovered their amazing store while visiting Anya Brock’s exhibition at the newly repurposed Fremantle Myer building, now called MANY 6160.
Kate and Matt’s hat journey started because they were bored of the run-of-the-mill-everyone-has-one hats that you buy in every department store on Earth. So Kate retrimmed one of Matt’s hats with some vintage ribbon, and based on very positive feedback, their journey began!
Kate (originally from Mullaloo) and Matt were living in a converted East London Vicarage, St Saviours, inspiration for their hat brand name, and sold their very first hat in 2010. By 2011 they were stocked in Topshop, Harvey Nichols and Anthropologie to name a few.
Back in Perth, Kate and Matt let TST pick their hat-brains:
TST: What do you love most about designing and making hats?
K & M: For us, it’s often about colour. Finding and mixing interesting colour combinations that you wouldn’t find elsewhere and that look great on our customers. There is a real pleasure in that.
Spoil your man perhaps?
TST: Do you think Perth has a certain style?
K & M: No, it’s a huge melting pot. From cool casual to cutting-edge directional. Because so many people have travelled and/or lived abroad and there are loads of interesting influences. Also the internet means Perth can no longer be ‘behind’ in the style stakes.
TST: If you had to pick just one, which would be your favourite hat?
K & M: A felt Fedora.
TST: What’s your best seller?
K & M: The dome top Panama.
TST: What mistake do you see people make all the time with hat-purchasing and/or hat-care?
K & M: We often see people in the street wearing their hat backwards! The pinch goes at the front. Also, don’t buy a hat too small or you’ll never wear it. Stick to one that that feels snug but not pinchy.
Our best hat care tips are:
- Always handle your hat by the brim, with two hands (not the pinch that’s in the crown).
- Don’t hang it on a hook as it can deform the shape, it’s best to store it flat.
- Ikea lint rollers are the best for felt hat cleaning.
- With Panama hats, every now and then pop them in a steamy room (such as a bathroom) to absorb the moisture in the air. This will keep the palm supple and prevent cracking.
TST: Have you had any celebrity customers? (besides us of course, winky face)
K & M: Our favourite customer was definitely Kylie Minogue. She has two of our hats now. After we found out she bought one from Harvey Nichols we sent her another. A few weeks later we received a hand-written thank you note, and some photos of her wearing the hat, alongside Stella McCartney at the Madonna concert.
Kylie in her fave Kate & Abel hat with her pal Stella…sigh.
TST: Do you think there is a hat for everyone? Even pin-heads like Nic?
K & M: Yes, there’s a gazillion different brim widths and crown shapes in hats. It’s usually a case of finding the right size (hard in department stores!) and not feeling self-conscious.
Kate hard at work, reeeaaaaally pulling that hat size in for me.
TST: How would you like to see Perth people be more adventurous with their head-gear?
K & M: So far, we’ve been very impressed with the adventurousness of Perth folk. Our more daring combos are always the first to go off the shelf. Saying this, it would be nice to see less baseball caps around.
TST: Is there one hat style you’d like to see back in vogue?
K & M: We’d like to see more people wearing Bowlers. The right Bowler can look super stylish, on men and women.
Perfect polo attire.
TST: Tell us about your Fremantle concept store.
K & M: We spent most of 2013 sourcing ‘stuff we love’ from around the world in order to fill our shop, Kate and Abel (Abel is an anagram of Matt’s surname, Bale). We wanted to set up a shop with plenty of goods which were hard to find in Perth, including a great selection of hats, jewellery, art, home wares and furniture and have an onsite coffee shop. The plan was to open in the city, but then we heard about the MANY 6160 project in Freo, and decided to go for it there instead.
Many of our products are one-off, so if you like something – buy it! We’re also open to sourcing stuff for customers too. We just love nice things, and so far, people seem to love the things we do too.
TST: Do you have a favourite bar or restaurant in Perth?
K & M: Too many favourites, but if we had to name a few it would be Bivouac, Bread in Common, Ace Pizza and Nobu.
TST: Kate – what are your five handbag essentials?
K: Lip balm, tissues, nail file, eyeliner… and my coveted Mulberry purse. (Kate admitted to us she also has a lip balm addiction and would probably have around 500 odd in her purse – finally Nic has found a lipbalm soul sista!).
TST: Matt – what would you never leave home without?
M: Acqua Di Parma and a hat.
Image: Sally Patterson @ Citigold Polo in the Valley 2013
CITIGOLD POLO IN THE VALLEY, Sunday April 6, 2014
The perfect place to rock one of Kate and Abel’s St Saviours hats? Presented by Peter and Debra Prendiville at the Duncraig Stud in the Swan Valley, the Citigold Polo in the Valley is the perfect mesh of fashion, style and sporting prowess. Get online now to get your tickets for this fabulous event.
Click here for the Citigold Polo in the Valley webpage: http://polointhevalley.com.au/
Images: Sally Patterson @ Citigold Polo in the Valley 2013
Find Kate + Abel at:
MANY 6160 (The old Fremantle Myer building)
Newman Court, Fremantle. Western Australia.
PH: 0470 476 996 or WEBSITE: www.kateandabel.com
Nicole (aka Mrs Pinhead).
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