Mexican Hat Maker Designs Iconic Hats for Celebrities
April 19, 2018
These hats grace the covers of renowned fashion magazines and many celebrities own a piece designed by Gladys Tamez, a Mexican woman who has been in the millinery business for a little over a decade.
Tamez has made a name for herself as a hatmaker with an A-list clientele, which she could not have imagined.
It all started in 2009, after her and a business partner’s clothing line suffered the effects of the 2008 financial crisis and they had to close shop.
She married that year, and during a trip to Spain, she was looking for a hat shop that would make a bolero hat for her, a habit she has during her travels.
“I come from a taurine family. I have an uncle who was a matador and my father owns a bullring, so every time I travel I always have a hat made. This is how my husband and I came across a millinery of a four-generations family and I just fell in love,” Tamez said.
Her recently-crushed fashion designer dream was quickly reborn with her newfound passion for hats. She shares that as she was getting her bolero made, she talked with the family and something suddenly clicked, she knew then that hat making is what she wanted to pursue.
“I’ve always had a special love for hats because my dad used hats all his life, and he had a precious hat collection. I would always see hats at the bullfights and women in Mexico love dressing up and use hats like María Félix used to. So they’ve always been very present in my life,” she shared.
Upon returning from her trip, she quickly enrolled in school to learn the basics. She relied heavily on her professor, Louise King, and others who became her mentors.
Her talent was put on display after designing a hat for Johnny Depp, her first celebrity client, whom she says is still seen wearing her hat. Later came Cher, Madonna, Neil Young, Queen Latifah, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Beyoncé’s backup dancers during the “Formation” performance at Super Bowl XLVII’s halftime show in 2015.
Just a few weeks ago Beyonce was seen wearing one of Tamez’s hats in a picture taken in Jamaica with husband Jay-Z. In the image, she’s sporting a piece from Tamez’s Technicolor spring collection, inspired by the eighties in all its brightly colored glory.
Lady Gaga is perhaps one of Tamez’s most loyal and humble clients, and one can tell by the way she expresses her experience in working with her.
“I’d say Lady Gaga is with whom I’ve worked the closest with and with whom I have a really nice relationship with. She’s marvelous, truly incredible. She’s super chill, cool and human,” she said with a warm smile.
Tamez recalls it wasn’t until a day before Gaga’s album release of “Joanne” that she found out the hat she designed would be the iconic pink hat on the album’s cover. Then came the video “Million Reasons” and we saw the pink hat again. Tamez decidedly went on to change the name of that particular hat to “Joanne” noting it’s become an instant iconic hat that will live forever.
Within her business goals, Tamez plans to one day have a storefront in every key market where she can sell her hats. Originally from Reynosa, Mexico, Tamez is a well-rounded traveller who visits Europe twice a year, where she sees good sales numbers.
Meanwhile, demand for her children’s line begins to quickly pick up the line clientele list includes Beyonce and Jay-Z’s kids, family among other celebrity kids. However she is focused on catering to her growing fans at her Los Angeles location, where she was working on something special for Maluma and Shakira during our visit to her studio.
Her greatest advice to entrepreneurs is to: “focus, give it your 100 percent, and most importantly work hard.”