Say hats, and the words Pink Mongoose usually follow. Hats are always in fashion, so naturally I found my way down there to speak with Debbie Edwards-Smith about one her specialties – working lovely hats for special occasions.
She took me on a journey that was appealing and eye-catching. In the end, I found a new appreciation for what a hat can do.
Edwards-Smith’s knack for designing and showcasing these lovely hats and fashions, flows nicely with her warm and exciting personality. Her zeal for creativity and flair exudes both in and outside of her professional surroundings.
“I have always had my own unique style," she told Caribarena.com. "As a young girl I never wanted to do the 'in style' thing. I did what suited me and what I felt comfortable wearing. I have always loved hats and owned only one as a child.”
It is no surprise that people from all walks of life make it their business to go the lower Long Street route to get a peak into the exquisite displays that await in her windows.
According to Mrs Lee, an ardent church-goer, “Debbie’s displays are just drawing, it pulls you in the store and the colour scheme wow, it’s amazing.
When it’s not lilac, it’s blue, green, whatever the colour everything just look so wonderful. I’ve been getting hats from her for years.”
The hats - of many shapes and colour, range from simple to extravagant. For the hat lovers who want their head pieces dressed up to extravagant proportions, Edwards Smith will do her thing, which always results in a satisfied client.
She said, “Perhaps our customers come to us because we try to offer each customer special attention and excellent service. Our quality of service is most important to us and then a good product. We try to offer hats in a wide variety of colours, styles, textures and fabrics. Then there is the one of a kind that we are able to produce for the customer who wants to have the only one.”
In terms of the showcase, she said, “Honestly, the window displays are only a small view into my imagination. That flair is something that comes naturally. It comes at two in the morning and I might have to get out of bed and go to my notepad or computer and make notes. I might be inspired by flowers or fruits or a woman walking down the street or looking at my sons or my grandsons.... That inspiration is all around me.”
The colour scheme in the windows reflect the seasons, the trends, what is current, what is going to come, new stock, old stock, emotions, moods you just never know.
She added, “Like Easter is that time of year when we reflect on Jesus' suffering and death for us. We remember, we mourn, and then we celebrate the risen Christ. So we wear darker colours throughout Lent and the reflection of the death of Jesus, and then we come out in our colours for the celebration of His rising. This year the facinators (a fancy name for the bandeau) are a big trend. They come in a variety of styles ranging from feathers and sparkling pins to small hats with tulle or net, to sinemay with shaped flowers.”
What about the belief that a woman is never well dressed without a hat? To this she said, “A well dressed lady does not have to wear a hat. The economy considered, the hat is not always a necessity. However, if we are talking about making a statement, then by all means bring on the hat.”
I’ve heard people say that a hat is not for everyone. But the expert said that indeed, “There is a hat for every woman. Every woman has her own unique flair. She just has to find it and embrace that flair. Also, the black hat is almost like the little black dress. It is always a good idea to have one.”
I was curious about what this designer usually puts on her own head. She said, “My personal taste is wide and varied. But because of my build, height, and facial structure, a medium to wide brim fits me best.” And I believe her. So from what she is saying here, you don’t just go out and buy a hat because it looks beautiful; there are a number of things to consider first.
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