Neymar has used it, as has Bob Dylan. Not to mention model Cara Delevingne, American footballer Tom Brady and another long list of global celebrities. Really, Celebrities have been practically parading Nick Phuket’s hats ever since he started making them.. “One of my first five clients was Billy Gibbons, from ZZ Top,” said the New York-born French-born hatmaker, who traveled the world and now lives in Los Angeles at the age of 39. Are Consumers were soon joined by musicians Ferrell and Madonna – both wearing branded accessories at the 2014 Grammys.
Driven by a team of heavyweight influencers, Phuket has established itself as the creator of modern Western-style hats that attract celebrities and anonymous alike alike. And now he’s turning his designer’s eyes to another American classic: Boots, in a partnership he launched with Luchis in March. “Lucas is a well-known brand, known for its excellent cowboy boots,” says Phuket.
Read more: Surfer becomes one of the richest women selling American hoodies
In the process, a conversation with an Ohio shepherd who made his hat was decisive. Phuket, then in his early twenties, says he never thought about how the hat came to be. And he was impressed by the quality of the piece, the artistic way of production, the timeless and almost unchanging design, the capacity of the category. “It’s a luxury product, with a luxury process, but you have to educate people so they know.”
From there, he began research and opened a studio in Venice Beach. Today it has about 30 employees and a store in Spain. He became a poster boy for his product (as if casting celebrities wasn’t enough) and promoted the category as a whole. “Everyone can wear a hat,” he defends. “The choice depends on the proportions, the texture of the face, the color of the eyes, the skin, the hair.” And is there a better way to use it? “With complete certainty.”
Below is an interview with Forbes by Phuket wearing a hat from Coulibe with Lucas.
I read that you create a universe to think about who will wear your hat – what they wear, where they go, who they hang out with. Who is this imaginary customer? And who is your real customer?
This imaginary client is derived from several clients in the LA area. This could be a Malibu girl driving in a changeable Mercedes with flowing hair, sunglasses and a hat. He can be a man of the center; he is always a creative, artistic, hardworking, passionate client. Traveler and artistic and bohemian spirit. My real customers are very diverse. From baseball, football and soccer athletes – Neymar and Dani Alves are my clients – to actors, rappers, rockers. It’s crazy how I get to all these different groups. I am thankful that this imaginary customer is also realistic. Consumers are, for the most part, passionate and creative people who understand quality, workmanship, timelessness, elegance and beauty. This is a common denominator. And, of course, I’m so grateful to these amazing, beautiful celebrities for following the brand.
When did celebrities start using your models?
It happened very systematically. One of my first clients was Billy Gibbons from the band ZZ Top. I made it a beautiful piece. Then the celebrities started appearing in the store. We made hats [o rapper] Ferrell, who wore a big crazy Vivian Westwood hat on the red carpet at the 2014 Grammys and played the stage wearing our hat with Daft Punk. At the same time, Madonna was wearing one of our hats.
What does the hat say about someone?
When a person is confident enough to wear a hat, it reflects the characteristics of that person. Hats attract interest: On the street, if you see a boy or girl in a nice hat, your eyes automatically recognize it. They bring a whim. And they’re a great way to start a conversation: “Hey, why are you wearing that hat? Oh, my God, it looks so pretty. Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from?” Where did you get this hat? “
When did you start using it?
My stepmother worked at Hermes and one day she brought me a hat [chapelaria parisiense] Motsch [produzido para a grife francesa]. The quality was so incredible!
And when did you start making them?
I worked for a designer who was making reproductions of WW1, WWII clothing, so I learned a little bit about production and sewing. I was fascinated by the whole process and the creative part of making clothes to collect and wear things. But I was excited and wanted to start my own business. I met a shepherd who was walking around in this beautiful hat and asked, “Where did you get this?” And he said, “I did it.” I never thought there was a process behind how hats are made. But when I look at the quality of it, there are about 40-50 people in the United States who make hats in this particular way. And they haven’t changed in 50, 60 years. This whole culture and subculture of fancy hats is made in a certain way, and I felt I could bring it and maybe reintroduce them.
A wide market scale. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out how to modernize it – whether it was adding fabrics and gear and different colors, whether it was taking on a rotten shape or refining it.
What’s the story behind the matchstick you put in the ribbon?
When you have an idea, it usually comes in a flash, as if you are lighting a match. It’s a spark of inspiration, it’s a spark of creativity. To me, this is the meaning of phosphorus. And he’s about to start a conversation.
Does it have anything to do with tradition? I saw an old picture of an ice delivery boy wearing a hat with lots of match sticks.
In ancient times people used matches and matches in their hats to light cigarettes. It was a place to carry things. Hats are also beautiful because they are a useful piece: they protect you from the sun, they keep you warm and they are a fashion statement.
How many hats do you have for personal use?
I have a hat.
When we helped Giveenchy collect the runway (in 2020), he was one of the model hats. It’s western style black. It’s really worn and ugly because I’ve used it a lot. I make hats every day, all day, and try them out. If I keep them I will have a lot. And people would ask for whatever was on my mind.
On what occasions do you use it?
Every day whether going out or going to the store. It’s very versatile.
But now you are wearing a hat. Always have something on your mind?
Yes. This is what I’m using.
Report published in Forbes Brazil issue 95 in March 2022.
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