Handmade and customizable, Teressa Foglia’s hats place sustainability at the heart of the creative process.
Written by Karine Monié
Before venturing into millinery, Foglia—who grew up in Troy, New York—had another life. “I ran a digital marketing agency in Southern California,” she says. In the summer of 2016, a trip to France, where Foglia took her first hat-making class, changed the course of her career. “I remember feeling such authentic excitement and I was immediately hooked.”
Encouraged by friends, Foglia started to convert her passion project into a business, initially dedicating about one day a week to it. “When a few people offered to buy a hat right off my head, I realized that this could be something special,” she says. A turning point came in 2017, the year Foglia designed her first collection in New York City while simultaneously setting up shop in Industry City, Brooklyn. She opened her first creative studio in December of that year to welcome the public to her joint retail and atelier space. Since then, she has added a Laguna Beach studio, as well as retail concepts in Manhattan, Malibu, Palm Springs, and Nashville.
The idea behind the eponymous brand is “creating custom, one-of-a-kind hats that tell a story,” Foglia notes. “I quickly began to see our pieces as extensions of our clients’ personalities. Every hat is designed and fabricated in the Laguna Beach and Brooklyn ateliers led by creative director Tyler Hays Wild. Once each piece is crafted, it can be customized with meaningful dates, phrases and heirlooms. “We believe in quality over quantity, handmade over mass, and that standing out is always better than blending in,” says Foglia, who draws most of her inspiration from the 35-plus countries she has visited, and the landscapes, cultures, and people she met. “When chasing adventures, all you need is a timeless hat,” she says. “Your hat is your ultimate travel companion, offering shade from the sun while you’re chasing it.” Having worn hats on and off the screen throughout his life, John Wayne would certainly have agreed.
“The rancher-style is one of my favorites this season,” adds Foglia, who pays homage to the American West through her new series. “We can produce this modernized style in a variety of different colorways while still maintaining an original cowboy-esque brim and pinched, rancher crown. The popularity of this style aligns with the opening of our first Texas atelier in Houston.”
Sustainability is also key for the brand. “We are conscious throughout the entire manufacturing process of our products,” Foglia says. “We source ethically made, high-quality felts and straws for our raw materials, and we incorporate trims—from neutral pinks to vibrant oranges—that we find at antique markets into our pieces. Repurposing uniquely beautiful pieces from places like Le Marché aux Puces in the Paris area, or independent makers and markets in Sardinia, Ibiza, Tokyo and Bali, means each hat is truly sustainable and unique.”
In just a few years, Teressa Foglia has created its own identity, and this is just the beginning. For 2022, the company plans to continue to grow its brick-and-mortar experiences while growing the line. “Our new retail locations will feature local and global artisans, which will expand our product offerings,” says Foglia. We can’t wait to discover what’s next.
Photographs courtesy of Teressa Foglia