Designer Hat News by Karen Henriksen

Style Guide|Men's and women's hats|ethical Focus

By Clara

Do you care about making more ethical choices? Read on for our guide to more sustainable designer hat styles.

Fast Fashion Vs Slow Fashion

Have you heard of these terms?

Fast fashion: the term generally equates global corporations that manufacture high volumes at the lowest possible cost, with a final product that is essentially disposable and lasts only a season. The real cost of fast fashion to the people producing it and the environment is becoming increasingly clear. If you’d like to find out more, see this article in Psychology Today.

Slow fashion: The term slow fashion was coined by design activist and writer Kate Fletcher, inspired by the Slow Food movement which focusses on high quality ingredients and fair, non-harmful production methods. The Slow Food manifesto states that “Everyone can contribute to Good, Clean and Fair quality through their choices and individual behavior”. In other words, every consumer can have positive impact with what they choose to buy. When it comes to slow fashion, Kate Fletcher stated in The Ecologist: “In melding the ideas of the slow movement with the global clothing industry, we build a new vision for fashion in the era of sustainability: where pleasure and fashion is linked with awareness and responsibility.”

The issues here are complex - particularly when it comes to growing, weaving and dyeing textiles, hence why I’m using the term ‘more sustainable’ as coined by consultancy Green Strategy to describe our efforts to offer more ethical fabric options to our clients. You can read their ‘seven forms of sustainable fashion’ here.

Designer hats made to last

Every Karen Henriksen hat has been conceived, designed and produced in-house in Karen’s London studio. In this way the designs stand out from other designer hat brands who manufacture in the UK or internationally. The hats have that distinctive hand-made feel, they are soft and you can tell they are not made in a factory. The hats are made right here, and once completed they are sent straight to you. In addition we experience very little wasted stock as most hats are made to size and to order.

We absolutely adhere to the principles of slow fashion. Karen designs for longevity and timeless style - in other words, long-term use is the goal here. While it may feel like more of an inital investment, over the years the cost-per-wear is in fact very low.

Our raw materials: yarns and sustainability considerations

Organic Cotton

Style guide: designer hats for men in organic cotton

If you’re concerned about the impact of textile production and sustainability, you might consider a hat made from certified organic cotton. With organic cotton there is no need for pesticides and this in turn protects water supplies for the growers and their local communities.

Here are a few Spring/Summer men’s organic cotton hat designs available in the shop in fresh tones of light green, pale blue and pale grey. Click on each hat to see it in the shop.

The benefits of linen

Most of our linen hats are made from Irish linen. This beautifully textured yarn is hard wearing, and is generally considered a more eco-friendly choice than cotton. Linen is made from the flax plant which requires less water than cotton to grow. Other parts of the plant are also used to create flaxseeds and linseed oil alongside linen yarn. Here is a small selection of Karen’s designs for men and women in linen.

Click on each hat to see it in the shop.

Style guide: Men’s designs in linen

Style guide: Women’s designs in linen

Hope you enjoyed this style guide to our more sustainable Spring/Summer hat designs - watch this space for new additions and please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions on this important and fascinating subject!

KH Milestone|10 years of trust, 10 years of excellence|the online shop is 10 years old


In May 2009 Karen was ahead of the curve and one of the first milliners in the UK to sell hats online. Already established at Cockpit Arts with a loyal following of clients, Karen launched her online shop showcasing a small selection of hats from the Windswept collection.

Karen will be celebrating this milestone on social media in the coming weeks, by sharing and reflecting on designs, collections and collaborations. Follow Karen today on Instagram or Facebook to discover or re-discover her creative journey, year by year from 2009 to today.

Hat Inspiration|Men's Hats|The Baker boy cap or Newsboy cap

By Clara

Not be mistaken for the flat cap (which has a flatter shape and a shorter peak), the baker boy or newsboy cap is a cap of more generous proportions. This is one reason Karen likes to describe it as a ‘beret-cap’. Also called Gatsby cap and newsie cap, it traditionally has 8 panels and a feature button in its centre. 


Practical Headwear, Made For Work


Worn by working class men and boys in England, Scotland and Ireland during the late 1800’s, as more workers emigrated to the USA in the early 1900’s the baker boy cap became ubiquitous everywhere, from buiding sites to docks, via factories.

In the USA throughout 1910-1930 it beacame increasingly common for young boys to wear this style of cap while selling newspapers on the street, so the name newsboy cap was adopted. This was before the advent of baseball caps, which quickly replaced the tweed cap in later years.

There is another reason for the uptake of the cap in everyday menswear: it goes back quite a few years.

A Legacy of Sumptuary Law

It’s quite amazing to think that an English Act of Parliament passed in the 16th century could have influenced men’s fashion in such a lasting way. Sumptuary Laws were intended to regulate the consumption of certain items: for example clothing, food or furniture, especially “inordinate expenditure” according to someone’s social rank.

In an effort to reinforce social hierarchy and morals, as well as stimulate domestic sales of wool, the Act of Parliament passed in 1571 stated that boys and men over the age of 6, “except for the nobillity and persons of degree” should wear woollen caps on Sundays and Holidays, or face a fine of three farthings. Whether this law had much effect in keeping the everyman out of trouble is to be questioned - But the cap’s lasting legacy in everyday wear cannot be denied. 


1920’s Fashion, 21st Century Style

With the return of Peaky Blinders this year, the popular television crime drama set in 1920s Birmingham in the aftermath of World War I, the baker boy or newsboy cap trend is looking set to continue.

Pictured below are Karen’s own interpretations of this timeless classic. They are creatively designed using Karen’s signature pattern-cutting style, with a slight asymmetry.

The baker boy-style beret-cap comes in two sizes: PB (left) is the more generous shape, while Perry (right) is designed with a narrower volume. Available in fine lambswool or Irish linen. See them in the shop.

At the heart of Karen Henriksen’s creative practice is a unique approach to creating new hat shapes, using pattern-cutting and expert tailoring. The resulting styles are both distinctive and individual, and crafted with care in Cockpit Arts, London

Hat Inspiration|Creative women: Delaunay, De Lempicka, Hepworth & Hadid

By Clara

Sonia Delaunay, Tamara de Lempicka, Barbara Hepworth and Zaha Hadid - just some of the pioneering female artists that are an enduring source of inspiration for Karen’s distinctive hat designs. Bold sweeping lines, sensitive use of materials and colour, and a sculptural approach to design are all key principles of Karen’s elegant designer hats. Read on to find out more about each artist.

Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979)

Russian-born key figure of Paris avant-garde and abstract artist. Along with husband Robert Delaunay she was at the heart of the Simultanism movement. In her work fine art and craft were on an equal standing.


Tamara De Lempicka (1898-1980)

Polish-born painter who worked in Paris and the United States. Her work was mainly figurative, blending cubism and the neoclassical style, with a particular focus on female portraits.


Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

Leading British sculptor whose work evolved from being naturalistic with simplified features, to being entirely abstract in the 1930’s. Her incredible career spanned five decades.


Zaha Hadid (1950-2016)

British architect born in Iraq. Her innovative buildings are gravity-defying and give visitors a sense of instability and movement, a style known as Deconstructivist architecture. 

Different eras, different media - Fine art, textile design, costume design and architecture - what’s the connection?

An eye for colour

Sonia Delaunay Prismes electriques-crop).jpg

Delaunay’s embrace of the Simultanism principles led to the use of contrasting and complementary colours in her abstract painting. In Prismes Electriques, her blended use of colour makes for a vibrant, dynamic composition.

"The infinite combinations of color have a poetry and a language much more expressive than the old methods" Sonia Delaunay


One of the best known artists in the Art Deco style, Tamara De Lempicka’s work depicts sensual women. Inspired by cubism and cropped in a similar style to photography. Faces, bodies and panes of fabric come alive with Lempicka’s structured use of colour. 

“My goal: never copy. Create a new style, with luminous and brilliant colors, rediscover the elegance of my models.” Tamara De Lempicka

A Sculptural approach to design

Hadid’s elegant architecture is daring and uncompromising. The London Aquatic Centre’s design could not be more sculptural, it was a star of the 2012 Olympics. Its fluid roof seemgly floats above walls of glass on either side.

Zaha Hadid described the intention for the design as “a space that feels more like a liquid”.

The building is a harmonious statement that blends into its setting and is both beautiful and useful.


Barbara Hepworth’s understated and strong abstract designs are iconic in their simplicity. Her immaculate surfaces and panes meet at intriguing angles with sharp and well defined connections.

Barbara Hepworth’s sensual sculptures in marble, stone, wood and metal invite the viewer to look more closely, to be invited in the spaces in between - in order to get a more intimate sense of their volume.

“ [I was] absorbed in the relationships in space, in size and texture and weight, as well as in the tensions between the forms” Barbara Hepworth

Reaching beyond expectations

Playfully switching between media and working alongside husband Robert, Sonia Delaunay was an artist in her own right. Giving equal weight to craft, design and fine art, her practice encompassed needlework, patchwork, textile design as well as painting.

This approach gives Sonia Delaunay’s work vitality and freshness: a patchwork, inspired by an abstract painting, would in turn inspire a textile design or a new painting.


Equally versatile in her design practice, Zaha Hadid gained international recognition in a male dominated industry. In 2004 she became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Design details by Karen Henriksen - The Delaunay collection

Karen named a women’s hat collection after Sonia Delaunay, here are a few design details. See the women’s collection here, or the women’s couture collection here.

Explore Karen’s distinctive designer hats for men and women in the shop.

Fitting Guide|Men's Hats|How to choose the right size for your hat

All you need to know about measuring your head size

By Clara

Here at Karen Henriksen HQ, we offer unusual designer hats caps for men, in a very wide range of sizes, and in 1cm increments. We do this because nothing compares to the comfort of a hat or flat cap that fits perfectly.

If you are a bit of a hat fan already, you may have a hat that fits you at home. It will most likely have a measurement in cm on it.

If not, then read on to measure your head size at home.


How to take my measurement?

You will need:

-a flexible sewing tape measure, or some string and a long ruler.

-a willing friend / partner/ neighbour / relative / child

Choosing your fit is quite a personal decision (and will also probably depend on the style of hat) - how would you like your hat or flat cap to feel? Snug and secure? Loose and free flowing? Or somewhere in between?

Whichever way you would like it to feel, ask your friend to wrap the tape around your forehead and the back of your head in this way. The tape should feel the way you’d like your hat or flat cap to feel.

Flat caps in particular do need to be a good fit, and can be worn in different ways - i.e. straight on, or higher on the forehead and pulled down deep at the back. The shape of your head comes into it, too - read on for more on this. (See also our post on face shapes)

Get your friend to read the measurement and make a note of it. In centimetres please!

How high should I place the tape on my forehead?

How to measure your head size By Karen Henriksen.png

It’s worth taking a moment to consider this: shallower flat caps will sit higher on your forehead than deeper styles, and some of the beret styles and trilby hats may sit a little deeper still. For Kelvin (pictured), this doesn’t make a difference to the measurement, however for somebody else it might!

You should place the tape approximately where you would like your hat to sit. Mid-forehead is a good place for most hats (see main image) but it might be lower or higher, depending on the style and your preference (as in the two smaller images here).

Head sizing: an art rather than a science

Orders from Karen Henriksen are made to size for you in the London studio. That said, if your hat doesn’t feel exactly right, please notify Karen within 5 days of receiving it. She will then make another one for you, one size up or down.

Take your head measurement with care, but remember: it is an art rather than a science…

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Many thanks to Kelvin Birk, our friend and neighbour at Cockpit Arts, for modelling.

Style Guide|Men’s Hats|Face shapes

How to find the ideal designer flat cap for your face shape

By Clara

Face shapes and body shapes are an intuitive thing - you might have a general sense of what hats and flat caps work for you without knowing exactly why. It can sometimes be useful to hone in on these things when choosing clothes or a hat. Here are a few tips and suggestions for you to experiment with.

Let’s get down to business and find out what your face shape is. Using examples from Karen’s range of designer flat caps, let’s see how your face shape may affect your choice of headwear.

What is your face shape?


Ask your friends / family to take a good look at your face! 

It’s generally easier for others to see.

You can also try looking at the mirror straight on, and squinting slightly. Focus on the general outline of your face, and try not to be distracted by any other elements such as your hair style, beard etc.

The main face shapes are: oval, round, oblong, diamond, square and heart-shape. Since we've begun the conversation on men’s face shapes, we are finding that most people are more than one shape, i.e. long oval, rounded square and so on.

Add in the mix whether you have a long or short forehead, prominent ears, whether you wear glasses or a beard: you now have a whole set of variables to consider beyond your face shape!

Follow our style guide for some tips and pointers, which we hope will be helpful in choosing a designer hat, flat cap or beret cap. It’s all about getting the right balance and proportion to suit your face. Everyone is different!

First and Foremost… Your Forehead

A little tricky to tell but a useful one to know: how long is your forehead?

To find out, compare with a friend in front of a mirror. Examples below show Alexander Skarsgård’s longer than average forehead, while Zac Effron is on the other end of the forehead spectrum!

The length of your forehead can inform your choice of flat cap, since a deeper fit would suit a longer forehead, while a shallower fit would work well for a shorter forehead. Here are a couple of examples below showing a deep and shallow fitting designs.


Colour and tone

Another factor to add to the mix: colour and tone. Choose colours that will contrast with you skin tone - generally avoid colours that are too close to your skin tone as they can make you look washed out.

Matching your hat to your eye colour is pretty much guaranteed to look great - especially if you have blue or green eyes, look out for the subtle pale green seagrass or blue toning tweeds and fabrics. Grey haired men shouldn’t shy away from wearing tones of grey, textured grey tweeds.

Men’s face shapes - Case studies & style guide

Alex: long heart shape

Alex’s face shape is both long and heart shaped. It suits fuller flat cap and beret cap shapes to give a little extra width, and balance out the length of his face too. Otley is the widest flat cap style. Clyde also adds extra width with that flattering softer beret-style effect. If like Alex, you have a long face, avoid narrow hat styles or anything that adds height.

Brandon: oval face shape

If like Brandon you have an oval face shape, lucky you! Finding the perfect hat will be easier for you, as oval face shapes suit most hat styles.

Generous berets and caps are especially good if you happen to have generously-sized ears, as they helpfully create more volume around this area.

Matt: diamond face shape

If you have a diamond face shape like Matt, pick out a flat cap with a fair amount of depth and a bit of width too. This works well to add balance. It would be best to try styles on if possible. Diamond face shapes can be a little more tricky than other face shapes, but certainly do try to avoid any flat cap that’s too narrow, or styles that add any height.

James: Long square face shape

If you have a long square face shape like James, choose rounder shapes, such as flattering beret caps or flat caps with a bit more volume. James’ beard is also helping soften the length and straightness.

Finally a note on glasses: cap peaks cen be helpful for glasses wearers (…and men with generous noses for that matter!) as they add volume and balance in front of the face.

Rory Kinnear.jpg

To tilt or not to tilt?

Finally, a note on tilting: do you like to wear your caps straight or at an angle?

For certain people especially men with round face shapes, such as Rory Kinear, it is a good idea to wear your flat cap at an angle. Adding a bit of asymmetry to your look can certainly be flattering. Beyond this, it really is down to personal preference!

Have a try and see for yourself

The best way is still to have a feel, try it on and see how you like it in the flesh. All our flat caps and beret-caps are made in-house, in the London studio by Karen herself. Everything is made to order and to size, to ensure the perfect fit. Having said that, don’t let this put you off from ordering online as all orders can be returned for a refund or exchange.

Join us in London as the Autumn Show season begins

The Autumn season kicks off with a trio of London shows at South Bank, Kew Gardens and Marylebone. Karen will unveil her latest designs for Autumn/Winter 2018/19, which includes distinctive tailored flat caps, women's winter hats, trilby hats for men and women aswell as berets and cloche hats.

Material Consequences at designjunction: 20-23 September 2018

Material Consequences is Karen's latest collaboration with five talented designer-makers and fellow Cockpit Arts residents. All are united by a thoughtful, innovative, and often playful approach to materials.  

Installed during The London Design Festival on the Southbank, Material Consequences will be showing from 20-23 September 2018 at Design Junction, Doon Street - Ground Floor, Stand C28.

Alongside a selection of brimmed hats, flat caps, peaked caps and berets by Karen Henriksen you can discover one-off or limited edition pieces by jewellers Rentaro Nishimura, Petra Bishai, Tania Clarke Hall, by leather accessories designer Candice Lau and by printmaker Ruth Martin. 

Find out more about the Material Consequences designers here.

Handmade at Kew: 4-7 October 2018

We're returning to this elegant contemporary craft show in the stunning grounds of Kew Gardens. An oppotunity to explore the collection and try on men's and women's hats, and perhaps find the perfect winter hat to see you through the colder months! Blaize (pictured below) is a distinctive everyday cap for women, now available in rich teal wool tweed.

We have a limited number of invitations available exclusively to our newsletter subscribers, which also give you free entry to Kew Gardens. Join us here to request yours.

Further information about the show can be found here.

MADE London Marylebone: 18-21 October 2018

The beautiful former church designed by Sir John Soane in Marylebone will once again be the setting for MADE London Marylebone, which returns with an exciting selection of contemporary craft makers. Expect to see a selection of winter flat caps for men, fedora and trilby hats for women, such as Bergman pictured below.

Find out more about MADE Marylebone here.

Pssst... Our secret sale starts soon!


To make room for new styles, the secret sale is back with generous caps, trilby hats, visors and brimmed hats. Just in time for those late summer sunrays!

The secret sale is only for our e-mail subscribers - just sign up here to get your access code.

Once logged in, you'll be able to browse a range of discontinued styles and samples at 50% to 70% off, and a selection of current collection pieces at 20% off. The sale will run 7-21 August 2018.

Coming up this month: Scoop

We're excited to be returning to Scoop this Summer, the prestigious trade event for fashion accessories at Saatchi Gallery from 22 to 24 July 2018. 

Karen will be presenting both Autumn/Winter 18/19 and Spring/Summer 19 from the women’s ready-to-wear range. The collections re-interpret everyday hat styles such as fedoras, caps, trilby hats and berets. Whilst often evocative of another era, the hats remain distinctly modern and practical, with a wonderfully informal elegance.

Karen will also showcase the latest couture millinery collection, for the first time at Scoop. Similarly singular in its approach, this range combines traditional model millinery materials and techniques with contemporary applications and a flattering minimalist aesthetic.


Seoul International Handmade Fair and Hong Kong visit

We are in the midst of preparations to attend the Seoul International Handmade Fair. Even though Karen's work can be seen in stockists in Korea, it's our first time taking part in a retail fair in Seoul. On display will be our range of tailored hats, including summery brimmed hats, asymmetric berets and beach-ready visors. In particular Karen will be showcasing the Petra women's peaked cap (pictured). Petra now comes in 3 limited editions: black irish linen, red with a straw peak and navy blue with a striking  printed suede peak.

The fair is an ambitious show of all things handmade, taking place 24-27 May 2018. The Fair describes itself as a festival of handmade culture and we're thrilled to be taking part alongside fellow Cockpit Arts studio-holders Rentaro Nishimura (jewellery) and Studio Candice Lau (bags and accessories).

Prior to the fair Karen will be stopping off in Hong Kong to visit our fabulous and long-standing stockist Hatwoman. Karen will be in-store offering styling advice to clients on Monday 21 May 2018, timings to be confirmed.

Please get in touch if you're in Seoul or Hong Kong and would like to find out more.

Image by  Hatwoman

Image by Hatwoman