Designer name: Stas Shmelevsky
You might call me a hat lady. I grew up with strong female women who loved red lipstick and a nice hat. On my radar now is our latest Designer To Watch Shmelevsky : The Millinery of the Kiev bases Brother Duo. After interviewing them I want one of their hats in my vintage hat boxes. Read on and you just might fall in love too.
Shmelevsky The Brand
Shmelevsky is a Kiev, Ukraine-based brand launched in 2017 by the brother duo, Stas and Vlad Shmelevsky. Stas is a millinery designer, who creates the shape of each hat by hand with artisanal expertise combining the time-honored traditions of both European and American millinery techniques.
While Stas is the creative genius behind the brand, Vlad’s expertise is geared toward the varied responsibilities of building a business such as marketing, communication, and sales.
We strongly believe that there is no better way to express one’s personality and impress others with one’s style than with a handcrafted hat possessing a unique design.
The key to our approach lies in their unconditional love for unconventional shapes that are effortlessly easy to wear. We aspire to produce a modern and minimal version of the design which is not only fashionable but versatile, ensuring that their hats are suitable for all occasions.
City Based In: Kyiv/Melitopol
SC: How did you discover making hats?
Shmelevsky : Our hat story began with American bloggers and stylists Street Etiquette. The bloggers behind Street Etiquette conducted a photo shoot placing an amazing Amish hat on a red background.
I instantly fell in love with the hat and decided to purchase one. Unfortunately, I could not find anything similar in Ukraine, prompting I attempt to create one by yourself.
Initially, I thought it would be a fairly simple process, but that belief turned out to be wrong. A year and a half passed between glimpsing that impressive photo and releasing our debut collection.
Sadly, the craft of hatmaking has been lost — it is a so-called lost art. Therefore, it was very difficult to find information to aid hat making quest. I mostly relied on American resources, as via the internet, I determined that Los Angeles now has the largest community of custom hat makers, and I started consulting with them regarding all of the technical nuances of handcrafting hats.
The guys in the US were very open to sharing their knowledge. They even invited me to come and watch them work, to learn the methods of production.
After one and a half years of training, we finally completed our first collection, and we hope that our creations can inspire others to fall in love with the art of millinery fashion.
SC: What the idea behind the collection?
Shmelevsky: I admire the laconic forms and lines in the works of British sculptor Anish Kapoor and American sculptor Richard Serra. In our collection, I tried to rethink the classical forms of hats without depriving them of utilitarianism. To emphasize the contours and silhouettes, I used the colors prominent in the works of Anish Kapoor: rich red, blue, pink, and gray.
Each hat in the collection I created without the help of pads in a manner consistent with the creation of sculptures, making each one a work of art.
SC: What has been your favorite career moment so far?
Shmelevsky: We are a young brand. But I guess the most exciting period was when I realize that the first collection is ready.
SC: What is your signature design?
Shmelevsky: Our signature is unique shapes with distressed bleached ribbons on the hat.
SC: Snapchat or Instagram Stories?
Shmelevsky: Definitely stories. Snapchat is not popular in Ukraine instead Instagram has a huge influence. I like the way how the Instagram develop and the opportunities that it gives for fashion brands. Besides, they recently added music to the stories, which adds him a few points in his favor.
SC: Who is your dream designer to work for?
Shmelevsky: I would be happy to work with Tom Ford.
SC: What is your must-have on the road beauty product?
Shmelevsky: Actually, I don’t have big road stuff. I prefer to travel with a little backpack to focus on comfort and easy going. You feel unleashed, undefined by your possessions. It is just you and the world
SC: What are you up to when you’re not designing?
Shmelevsky: I`m a basketball fan. So If I have free time, you can find me in on the basketball court. Study art and enjoy the life with a close people is also the things I prefer to spend my free time.
SC: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Shmelevsky: As for a brand, in five years, we find yourself as one of the main hat brands in the world and make the hat culture more popular.
SC: What would you change about the fashion game?
Shmelevsky: I would definitely change the speed of the game for the sake of sustainability and anti-consumerism.
SC: What are you listening to right now?
Shmelevsky: I’m inspired by a lot of different types of music – from Frideric Handel to Kendric Lamar. For now, there is a lot of classical music in my playlist: Claude Debussy, Eric Satie, Сhopen, etc. I listen to different things depending on how I feel, in general, at that moment.
SC: What advice would you give emerging designers like yourself?
Shmelevsky: I think is the number one is to do all your best to make your product really unique, belief what you do and know your market.
Shmelevsky : The Millinery of Kiev Brother Duo