Q&A with Amina Hood

[ 2020 Update ] We interviewed Amina Hood in 2016 while we were collaborating for a collection debuting at Kansas City Fashion Week. We’ve recently caught up with Amina and asked her a few questions to see what she’s been working on and hear about the latest with her millinery business. Read on for the Q&A.

If you are from the Kansas City area, then it's very likely you've heard of Amina Hood. Amina's modern and elegant headpieces have been seen in the pages of local magazines, on the runway and on the most fashionable women of the city. 

Asiatica is collaborating with Amina for our Kansas City Fashion Week Collection and we have had the great pleasure of spending time with her over the past couple months in preparation for the show. We thought you'd enjoy a Q&A with Amina, hear her story and see some of her gorgeous hats. 

Asiatica: What was your first introduction to hatmaking?

Amina: Hatmaking for me started as a fluke. A good friend of mine asked me to design her a hat for Burning Man. I laughed at her and told her "I don't make hats." Still, the idea of it sounded like an intriguing challenge, so I crafted a mini top hat to complement her steampunk garb for the desert. After that, I simply fell in love with the art of millinery. I began creating my own designs and studied under a renowned milliner, Jeanne Bjorn.

Asiatica: You've traveled to London to compete in the James Lock & Co Millinery competition. Tell us about that experience. 

Amina: The first time I went to London I called my husband and told him "I'm with my people." Last year, I entered a millinery contest on a whim and ended up being the only American finalist in the international James Lock & Co. Millinery Competition in London in 2015. I really had no idea how big of an honor it was to be chosen until I got to London and found out that Lock & Co is the oldest hatmaker in the world and has been in business since 1665. The entire trip was incredible. I had the opportunity to meet many famous milliners at London Hat Week including the milliner to the Queen and Princess Kate. This fall, one of my hats has been chosen for the prestigious London Hat Week 2016 Exhibition.

Asiatica: How would you describe your pieces for the Asiatica SS17 collaboration debuting at Kansas City Fashion Week?

Amina: The headwear I designed for our collaboration is inspired by the Japanese obi. I wanted to create head pieces that have strong lines, fluid movement and great energy. Working with the vintage kimono fabric has been a dream/challenge and I'm excited to see the entire collective on the runway at Kansas City Fashion Week.

Asiatica: You recently moved into a new studio space in East Brookside. What do you love most about it?

Amina: My little hat studio in East Brookside is exactly what I envisioned. The walls are white except for the pops of color from my hats and I have a large work table that I sit at while I hand sew and sculpt each of my creations. I share a studio with textile artist Debbie Barrett-Jones and am next door to Golden & Pine. It's an exciting time for East Brookside with many new businesses moving in and I'm thrilled to be part of the new developments.

Asiatica: How has living and working in Kansas City shaped your business?

Amina: Kansas City and the arts and business community has been very supportive of me and my business. I've had continual opportunities to share my work and I feel that it's really a wonderful place to start and develop a business. On the other hand, navigating a millinery business from Kansas City is not always ideal, but with internet and social media I am able to reach clients globally.  

Asiatica: What are your next goals for Amina Marie Millinery?

Amina: I love this question! My business is currently launching a manufactured line of hats to reach a larger global market. Look for my ready-to-wear line to be in select stores in 2017.

Follow Amina Marie Millinery: Website | Instagram | Facebook
All photographs courtesy of Meg Kumin Photography.


Asiatica: What's the latest in your business development since we interviewed you in 2016?

Amina: I did a rebrand about a year ago and Amina Marie Millinery is now Amina Hood. I’m also now selling online and in select stores. One of my biggest accomplishments since 2016 is that I had a hat on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in March 2019 for the opening of Instruments of Rock & Roll. My hat was inspired by the Punk genre and is made out of wire percussion brushes and leather. A big thanks to the Milliners Guild for this wonderful opportunity.

Asiatica: Have you worked on any special projects close to your heart?

Amina: I created a 3d printed futuristic eco hat design for an exhibition in London this Fall 2020. It was such a cool experience to collaborate with Fat Plant Society and their beautiful moss to create this design. I chose the futuristic theme to start a conversation about our environment. My concept is this utilitarian helmet with living moss to absorb the CO2 from the atmosphere and help generate oxygen. I couldn’t create this 3D vision without the help from my friend Randal Alan.

Asiatica: What hats/looks are your favorite from the Spring 2020 photoshoot with Asiatica?

Amina: That's a hard choice since I love all the looks. I think it would depend on my mood but if I had to choose it would be the free form sculptural black parasisol hat (first look). 

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