Each year, The Red List of Endangered Crafts outlines the traditional practices in danger of extinction without support. The viability of heritage crafts is assessed based on whether there are sufficient craftspeople to transmit the skills to the next generation. The art of hat-making continues to be under threat.

But Dalston-based, Leeds-born hatmaker James Rushfirth is here to preserve the craft. Founding his James Pink Studio back in 2020, his satin sailor caps, military-style velvet berets with feather plumes and netted bucket hats are in equal parts romantic and modern, setting out to put hatmaking back on the map!

We asked him 10 Questions to find out more…

What inspired your latest piece?
My designs are increasingly self-referential, a slow morphing between one hat and the next. There’s no mood board, just favourite shapes.

What's your favourite piece and why?
My little ‘thinking’ caps I wear that have a short peak and tie at the back. Like a lid on a jar, I don’t feel all there without them.

Why is hatmaking important to you?
Hats can show off or hide a person. I try to do both simultaneously, hats for extroverted introverts.


Name one person, living or dead, that you would want to wear your pieces.
Erykah Badu on her days off.

Describe the space in which you make.
I am lucky enough to have an equipped home studio in Dalston.

What do you listen to while working?
Classical in the morning, podcasts (Nymphowars) at night and Radio 2 if I run out.

What’s your favourite part of the design process?
Sketching is relaxing and useful for figuring out ranges. I’m a stickler for detail, so pattern cutting is when most of the design happens. There’s a particular geometry to hats and I enjoy working to the millimeter.

What is it about London that continues to energise your creativity?
There are enough distractions for when I need to escape, but I always keep running back with new motivation to create, usually after looking at paintings.


What drives you to keep making clothes?
I find the hat market limited in terms of shapes so I need to prove to myself that more interesting things are possible.

What’s next for the brand?
Probably more black hats. More designer collaborations …and entering Japan.

Discover more at jamespinkstudio.com...