Next-Level Threads: Get Your Head In The Game With The Wise Hatter
Photos Courtesy of The Wise Hatter
Not even Brandon Wise could have imagined he’d land at the corner of California and Abbott Kinney, shilling custom-made hats to the passing people of the Venice Beach historic street.
Better known as The Wise Hatter, he began crafting hats from scratch after obsessively deconstructing vintage ones in order to figure out how they came together. This level of curiosity started him down the road to landing his prime shop location, where he intimately makes custom headwear designed for anyone from the likes Dhani Harrison to regular people in need of a wide-brim hat, fit exclusively to their personality.
You know, people like you and me.
Making custom hats wasn’t Wise’s first foray into the arts. In fact, he’s been something of an artist his entire life.
When he graduated from high school in the San Fernando Valley, he worked odd jobs then became a photographer for the Santa Monica Daily Press where he earned the College Photographer of the Year Award by the Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles. It seemed like Wise finally hit his stride, but then the newspaper business started to crumble.
“It was kind of heartbreaking, and I needed something to fill the spot so I started to play around more with hats,” Wise told Mandatory.
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His ex-girlfriend suggested he use hatmaking as a way to revive his love of photography. Instead, Wise went all in with his natural passion and ability to create something from nothing, which eventually landed him with his own business and consistent clientele.
But Wise makes it clear, he fell in love with hats long before he started making them.
“Around seven years ago, I started to take apart old hats and repurpose them because I couldn’t find a hat that I liked. As a kid, I’d see something on TV or in movies and I’d have to have it, so I’d make it,” he said.
His fascination quickly grew past the art form into the visceral connection that the hats themselves, customized to each individual, helped the person wearing the hat define parts of themselves they normally struggle to express.
“You put on a top hat, you feel fancy or like you’re supposed to be doing something interesting. Put on a cowboy hat and you’re going to feel quiet and relaxed. Every single hat has a personality that connects with the person wearing it. That idea always fascinated me.”
This natural curiosity mixed with an indelible drive transformed him into The Wise Hatter.
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Wise currently lives and works in his Venice studio, which you can visit by appointment. If you want to know what he’s doing on any given day, it’s probably working on hats, making hats, selling hats, or wearing hats. You can find more of his work on his Instagram @thewisehatter.
Are hats an accessory you believe to be an investment? Would you ever consider having a hat specially made for you? Let us know in the comments!