Know your new designer: Janessa Leone

Tamar Mendelssohn The Shoe Diet Janessa Leone
Janessa Leone hat on The Shoe Diet

I know you're thinking: in a time of fare weather accessories, are there are closet cornerstones meant to last a lifetime?

A working man's best accessory: a client of mine once recalled to me the significance of a well lived in cowboy hat from her childhood in West Texas. Hats come in all colors and sizes, but are really defined by their owners lifetime of hard work. They stay with you, growing more interesting and shapeful with every roll of the punch. Until one of the west Texas' perennial winds tumbles it away for good, and then you start over. No new trends, no this-season's-color-palette, just character.

She fell in love with the characteristics brought to these head toppers and eternalizing them in bronze, beginning with her inherited grandfather's hat. She went on to start a series, buying new hats, beat them up as West Texas as she could herself, and casting them too. 

With a case for a good life-long hat being made. There had been a lack of one I'd actually want to crown myself with for under $300. That is until until Leone took things into her own hat making hands.

Also one for hat preservation, Janessa Leon's mantra is keeping your hat for forever. She marries utility, style, and craftsmanship making her hat's the old fashion way, by hand, start to finish. Her silhouettes are going nowhere either, inspired by her grandfathers hats, Janessa's hats are as classic a fedora, boat, or cadet hat as you can get you with metal and leather touches.

With $10,000 put away in from nannying gigs, Leone's first year grossed $1.1 million in 2014. Not too shabby for a first year trying out millinery. I'm incredibly curious what she'll shape up her future collections to be: year one and two already harnessing metal details reminiscent Paco Rabanne's signature. Hopefully she'll carry on as a great hat: better with age.