Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore, Staff Reporter
His hats are flamboyant - vibrant colours accessorised with beads, flowers, features and just about anything that can add some pizzazz.
Karl Brown is not your average Joe - he has a knack for fashion and making hats and people more fabulous. Brown is the designer of trendy women's hats, which he calls Khalil's Hattitude. Unlike most designers, Brown has no formal training in designing, but he is very good at it.
Brown's journey into hat design, as he puts it, happened through divine intervention. He said he is a Christian, and last August he went to Chicago in the United States of America for a church convention.
"It was while I was at the convention that the Lord spoke to me and told me that hat designing was what I need to be doing," said Brown.
The 37-year-old designer and image consultant recalled how he came to that conclusion. He said it was after he met a woman at the convention wearing the most gorgeous hat he had ever seen. He noticed that her hat was made from deco poly mesh which he uses quite a lot when he is decorating. He was blown away by it and could not stop admiring it. A few days later, as fate would have it, he met the woman again. She was sitting at a table selling her hats.
"I just walked up to her and asked her if I could accessorise one of her hats. She agreed, and when I was finished I gave it back to her and said consider it sold. Within 10 minutes or so it was sold."
Lord spoke to him
Brown left the United States with three of the hats. On his return, he made a Facebook page and posted photos of the hats and wrote, "Coming soon".
Seeing that he has never designed a hat before, Brown now had the challenge of figuring out his next move. On top of that, with his Facebook post he began getting requests for hats. So, he got a machine, learnt to use it and began sewing. He said at first it was a bit rough but with time he got better at it.
The self-taught hat designer told Flair that before he sits down to do a design, his environment has to be clean, quiet and free from distraction. Brown noted that, unlike other designers, he does not sketch. All his pieces are original and he pulls inspiration from his head. He adds that he never repeats a style and many times he is in bed sleeping and is awakened by the Holy Spirit to get up and make a particular style.
While Brown is led by the Spirit with his designs, he has challenges finding a wide variety of colours in his material (deco poly mesh) of choice. He said he decided to use that particular material because it is very light, breathable (won't let your head sweat wearing it), and it travels well.
Brown, who was spotted by Flair at the recent wedding expo at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, reveals that, so far, the response to his hats has been great and his goal is that in the next five years his hat collection will be featured on catwalks in Europe.
For more information on Khalil's Hattitude hats contact 862-8081 or email,firstname.lastname@example.org.Email comments to: email@example.com