Hatting with “La China Loca”

I will admit that next to bags and shoes, hats are one of my favorite accessories.  In fact, one of my favorite hats is a pony hair leopard print I purchased when I was in high school at Patricia Fields in NYC’s West Village.  The deliciously furry beast sat on my wall above the closet, sassily showing itself off in the midst of a few of my other favorite possessions.  It came to no surprise that when “La China Loca” came to my attention I jumped at the chance to interview her.  As you can see from her creations, to say she is talented would be an understatement.

Jo-Ann:  Where are you from?  Nationality/Background/current location?

La China Loca:  I am a native New Yorker of Chinese and Puerto Rican decent living in Brooklyn

Jo-Ann:  Where did the name “La China Loca” come from?

La China Loca:  The name was an old nickname resurrected when a friend asked me to participate in an arm wrestling competition about 6 years back and bought me this Lucha[1] mask.  After racking my brain for a business name, one day it just popped into my head to use this old nickname meaning “the crazy Chinese girl” in Spanish.  She’s my brand icon representing Asian/Latin and masculine/feminine modern archetypes. The Mexican wrestler and Japanese school girl.

Jo-Ann:  How long have you been designing hats, and why hats?

La China Loca:  I’ve been designing hats for 5 years. I used to study sculpture and fashion design amongst other things and it combines elements of those for me. As a teenager, I also fell in love with The Bowler.  After seeing the film Clockwork Orange, I bought one [of my own bowler hats] and then ten years later took some millinery classes at FIT and began making hats.

Jo-Ann:  Where does the inspiration come from for each collection?

La China Loca:  Life, travels and living this crazy life in this insane beloved city.

Jo-Ann:  All your hats are hand made by you correct?

La China Loca:  Yes, everything is produced by myself.

Jo-Ann:  How many pieces of each style do you make or is each piece one of a kind?

La China Loca:  Most are one of a kinds, with others being some of a kinds (2-8ea).

Jo-Ann:   What materials do you work with and which ones are your favorites?

La China Loca:  I prefer felt and straw, but do some up cycled denim pieces as well.

Jo-Ann:  Do you take custom orders?

La China Loca:  Yes, La China Loca is happily available to collaborate creatively with clients looking to bring their   chapeau dreams into reality.

Jo-Ann:  Would you say that European women are more open to wearing hats than American women?

La China Loca:  In a traditional sense perhaps, but more and more younger American women are catching on to the fancy hat movement, particularly in wearing men’s shapes, like the very popular stingy brim fedora and bowler.

Jo-Ann:  Where can our readers purchase your hats?

La China Loca is available at Shag Brooklyn, Gothic Renaissance and House of Savoia in NYC as well as directly from her Williamsburg space, Studio de La China Loca.

Jo-Ann:  Do you see yourself designing women’s clothing in the future, after all the late great Coco Chanel also began her career designing hats.

La China Loca:  Yes, perhaps a latex line.  It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do.

Jo-Ann:  Your favorite quote?

La China Loca:  “If you ask me what I came here to do as an artist, I will tell you, I am here to live out loud” Emile Zola

Thanks so much for sharing your vision with us and ladies please make sure you check out her works of art on her website www.lachinaloca.com

[1] Lucha libre (Spanish: free wrestling or free fighting) is a term used in Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries, for a form of professional wrestling that has developed within those countries (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucha_libre)

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