Jaycow Millinery: “It’s ok to be Fancy”
Mixing and matching her extensive collection of over 400 hat blocks from all over the world, Jay Cheng creates democratic shapes that break the rules and reveal the multiplicity of character. “It’s ok to be Fancy” is Jay Cheng’s fresh and contemporary take on popular common hat blocks from throughout the 20th century.
Jay Cheng is known both for her playful innovation and her meticulous craftsmanship. When asked about how she started out designing hats, Cheng said, “It was a very full time in my life, full of blessings and lessons. I had found myself in the UK and ended up taking an introduction to Millinery classes. I was always into hats and would acquire pieces throughout my travels. At that moment, however, my thirst for a hands-on outlet for my creativity had compelled me to learn more. I was instantly hooked and purchased my first hat block a day later, the journey had begun.” Jay began Jaycow Millinery in 2004 and since then, has created hundreds of bespoke pieces. Drawing on her background as a Creative Producer, Jay has an instinct for bringing out the unique personality, flair and poetics of an individual through her Millinery creations. A rebel by nature, her design never ceases to challenge and surprise.
After more than a year of lockdowns and sweatpants, getting back in the real world can be scary. The euphoria of freedom mixed with the uncertainty of navigating new social norms is a potent recipe for a stress cocktail. Jaycow Millinery's newest collection, "It's ok to be Fancy," is a celebration of these complicated emotions and crystallization of the mantra that it's okay to be your truest self even when you're confused or hesitant. Each hat in this collection is hand-made and crafted to both reflect and rebuke the everyday struggle all of us face in expressing ourselves in a post-pandemic society. This fashion-forward collection helps you timelessly accessorize and proudly communicates that it's ok to get out of sweatpants, it's ok to go out, and it's ok to be ‘YOU.’
“We make hats for real people to elevate their daily life while championing the beauty that is our community.”
The "It's ok to be Fancy" collection reflects responsible creativity, flair, and imagination and is explicitly designed with people from all walks of life in mind. Blazing a trail for representation in the millinery industry, Jay Cheng has insisted her collection be showcased by an incredibly diverse group of models and real, everyday people. The campaign surrounding the launch of the collection features 28 models and real-life people from widely varying ethnicities, ages and shapes, cementing the commitment to inclusivity and positivity that is an undercurrent theme of Cheng's work. Cheng has also created this particular collection by blending her rich history and cultural traditions with contemporary influences. She has used collectable memorabilia and interesting print ephemera to inspire both herself and the collection's soul. According to Jay, this collection will also revisit some of her older retro pieces and headdresses, which she thinks are poised for a comeback.
By Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle
Photos provided by designer