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Aiming to Become a World-Class Hat Designer

Passion for Creating Hats

Ms. Fujiwara turned up donning a cute hunting cap and saying, "I’m very happy to wear a cap that I made myself." She studies German on the Minoh Campus in the Hokusetsu Area, which is richly endowed with nature and close to her home. She has always had a special feeling for hats. "I have only cared about hats since I was a child; I never even gave clothes and shoes a look," she told us.
Her longing for hats was so strong that when she took her university entrance exams, she thought "If I failed to enter Osaka University, which was my first choice, I’d like to learn how to make hats at a vocational school." In her third year, when thinking about a job, she asked herself, "What is my most favorite thing?" She couldn't think of anything other than hats.

Training at Studio Hirano

In August 2014, Ms. Fujiwara joined a hat design studio, STUDIO HIRANO KYOTO JAPON (representative: HIRANO Tokutaro) in Kyoto. While juggling German language study at school and working part-time, she attended the studio once a week. "My work started with buying a sewing set and sewing machine. Everything that I saw and touched was new." She has made ten hats in the past year. "What I imagined in my head is taking shape. I make hats by hand, so I feel an extraordinary sense of accomplishment when I'm finished."

World-class Sense of Design

Ms. Fujiwara won 1st place in the category of Sainte-Catherine hat at a competition in Caussade, a town in the southwest of France, for her work entitled "Tinker Bell," a fairy that appears in Peter Pan. "I managed to come up with the idea using a combination of yellow and green.” The wings of the fairy were expressed using sinamay, a natural plant, and were accented with a flower ornament made by kimono fabric. The crown was formed with a green wheat braid. She put her heart and soul into her creation, saying "The crown was warped out of shape while I was winding. So I winded again and again, and ended up developing blood blisters."

"I’m honored to gain world recognition for the hat, but I have only just learned the basics. I want to develop my own original design and shape. I'd like to learn more so that I can express my world through hats." She hopes to work independently as a hat designer in the future. "I want to create hats that make you happy by going out wearing them." Mr. Hirano, her mentor, has high hopes for her, saying "She has a great sense of style that will allow her to excel on the world stage."

Doing What You Want, to the Fullest

Other than crafting hats, Ms. Fujiwara enjoys her student life by participating in the Summer Festival Steering Committee and Softball Club. "My happiest memories are spending time with the members of my clubs. Their encouragement is a great reassurance to me."

Finally, she sent some encouragement of her own to her juniors in school by saying, “I've never wanted to go back to the past. I did what I wanted to do in elementary school, junior high, high school, and university. So I want them to do what they want to do too, and to do it to the fullest."

About Sakiko FUJIWARA

Enrolling in Osaka University School of Foreign Studies in 2012, Ms. Fujiwara is a research student at STUDIO HIRANO KYOTO JAPON in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. She won 1st place in the category of Sainte-Catherine hat at the 23rd International Hat Festival, Estivales du Chapeau, in Caussade Septfondes, France.

St. Catherine’s Day in Paris is a festival of fashion.

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