Jasmin Zorlu is a milliner, someone who designs and makes women’s hats. Millinery, the art of hat design and hat making, is a trade made famous by the designs of Coco Chanel, and originated when women would ask milliners to reuse their old clothing and restyle it into new designs. When I first spotted Jasmin’s hats at an intimate clothing designer sale, I promised her I would buy one the day I had an event to wear such a spectacular piece of art atop my head. Until then, I watch and wait, and decided to ask her what led her to design art to inspire and cover the female brain.
AC: What’s your typical day?
Zorlu: There is no typical day, though I can tell you what I do when I’m freelancing for Goorin Brothers. I am just finishing up Spring 2009, where I designed, drafted patterns, sewed up prototypes, and sourced material.
AC: How’d you get where you are?
Zorlu: I knew at an early age that I was going to be a fashion designer. I gave up the aspiration of being an astronaut when my eyes needed glasses at the age of eleven. That’s when I learned how to use the sewing machine from my father, who altered his clothing and even made bags for the family. After college, I had the fortune to work with six of the best milliners in New York City.
AC: What’s the best thing about your job?
Zorlu: Flexibility. I can sleep in if I like (when I’m not freelancing for Goorin Brothers three days a week, a local hat company). It took me many years to accept that I work best between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.
AC: What don’t you like?
Zorlu: That many heads out there are hatless. The popularity of hats is growing every year since I’ve been in the business for fifteen years. I’ve had to support my passion with countless side jobs: catering waiter, cigarette girl, art model, executive assistant, etc.
AC: How much money do you make?
Zorlu: I hope to be the world’s first millionaire milliner someday.
My Gig is a series of stories about different careers. Trying to figure out what to do when you grow up? My Gig, which provides a quick glimpse into a person’s work life, may inspire you!
Photo courtesy of Jasmin Zorlu