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Maria Palaria: The Visionary Hatmaker Redefining Elegance


“Wear your hat with confidence or leave it at home” 

Photographer: Oana Oachesu - @oanaoachesu / Styling: @irishaofficial / Make-up: @yasminnawad / Hair: @hair_by_costin_stefan - @bassamconceptsalon / Producer: @ruxandrra -@rueffectagency / Outfit: @zenonbrand / Design Director: @mathlopes

Meet Maria Dumitrache, the brilliant mind behind the illustrious 'Maria Palaria' brand. From Bucharest, Romania, Maria is not just a hatmaker; she is a visionary artist, seamlessly blending tradition with innovation to create headpieces as exquisite as they are iconic.

For Maria, hatmaking is not just an art; it is a passion deeply rooted in her life. Since 2016, she has been creating masterpieces that transcend trends, adorning the heads of discerning individuals and celebrities with her creations. Each hat tells a story, reflecting Maria's dedication to her craft and her relentless pursuit of perfection.

Driven by her curiosity and creativity, Maria embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led her to the doorstep of an experienced hatmaker, who became her mentor and guide. Under his tutelage, Maria honed her skills, mastering ancient techniques while infusing her designs with a modern touch that sets her apart in the world of haute couture.

From humble beginnings to global recognition, Maria's journey is a testament to her resilience, creativity, and commitment to excellence. Today, Maria Palaria stands out as a rising artist and graces the international cover of Hooks Magazine's "ROMANIA" edition.

Check out below an exclusive interview with the artist:

1. What inspired you to pursue hat making as a career?

Since I was a child, what I liked the most was to have creative activities. Singing and painting were my favourites. I was always praised at school for my creativity, which made me feel very special.
Hats, on the other hand, were not my passion as a child, on the contrary, I did not like to wear anything on my head. The connection between me and hats happened out of the blue, without any clear explanation. It was like a dream that I had one night and from the next morning my mind was set only on that. I knew for sure that this craftsmanship was my meaning in life.

2. Can you tell us about your journey from studying physiotherapy to becoming a renowned

hat maker?

My family always guided me to choose a safe path for my career, but mathematics and numbers were never my strong points. I always felt that my hands had a strong and special energy, so I thought that if I choose physiotherapy, I can help people with my gift. That was something that brought me joy and enthusiasm, but it didn’t last long. I still felt like I wasn't using my hands as I was supposed to. Later I realised that my hands were actually meant to create art.

Grey demin outfit: @croitoruofficial

3. How did you meet your mentor, the 90-year-old hat maker, and what was the most valuable lesson you learned from him?

I already feel like I am going to get emotional answering this question. My mentor is the last and the oldest hatter in Romania. Coincidentally, he is the grandfather of a high school colleague that introduced me to him. From that moment, for a year I went to his hat studio almost every day. For 6 months, all that he allowed me to do was sew hats, saying that this craftsmanship is not for women. Over time, observing my determination and attention to details, he taught me how to make a hat from scratch. When I first started working on a hat, it felt like it was something I was already familiar with. For 6 months I observed how he worked on hats while I was sewing, so visually I knew exactly how to do it. Although it wasn’t easy, I felt like I’ve done that before and every day it just became easier.
My mentor taught me one of the most important things I could learn in life: to fight for what I want, to be patient and never give up. At the same time, he taught me to trust myself. He told me that if you don't wear the hat with confidence, then you should leave it at home. I am grateful to my mentor and I pray for him every day.

4. What was the greatest challenge you faced when starting your brand, "Maria Palaria" and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was to educate people to wear hats. I remember how they would be amused to see me wearing hats on the street. This didn’t discourage me because I wanted to get a reaction, and I did. It just meant that I had started to do something noticeable.
I used to go to fairs and do live demonstrations to attract their attention, this made me stand out and in short time, all the romanian celebrities wanted to wear my creations. It didn't take long untilI I became a popular hat maker throughout the country.
The era of hats was long over In Romania, but I was going to bring it back to life. And that's exactly what I did.

5. How would you describe the style and aesthetic of your hat designs?

My hats are not just an accessory, they represent a piece of each person's soul. That's why I created #hatswithastory. Each hat carries the story of the wearer and this way the hat becomes very personal. I make the hats according to everyone's physiognomy and style, no hat is the same as the other. We live in a world where people would rather follow trends than embracing their authentic self. It’s been 8 years since I started making hats, and this concept has been and still is very important to me. I want to highlight each person’s authenticity.

6. What role do traditional techniques play in your hatmaking process, and how do you incorporate innovation into your designs?

The traditional techniques are what I find really special in this craftsmanship. In order to create a hat that will last for generations, you must execute the traditional techniques impeccably and pay attention to the smallest details. After achieving that, what is left is infinite creativity, but that is also the most challenging part. Inspiration can come instantly or it can be absent for a longer period of time. It's hard to come up with something new these days. But despite all that, I can say that over the years I have come up with new touches in the design of my hats, something that made me very proud and also inspired other hat makers.

7. How did the "Country" style become part of your life, and how do you think it has influenced your work as a hat maker? With this style being very popular nowadays, do you notice an increased demand for your hats that fit into this aesthetic?

Although I was more focused on making customised hats, I also created several collections over time. The collections didn’t follow a specific trend, they represented chapters of my life. Three years ago I made a collection called "Western Love”, which included cowboy hats. The only hat that I actually have been wearing for some time now is a black cowboy hat, which I adapt very easily to any kind of outfit. That may even be my personal styles’ trademark. I’ve always been attracted to country music and western style, but I’m not sure most people could relate at that time.
The collection was highly appreciated, but not many were courageous enough to wear that style. Now, because they are highly trending, most of the orders I receive are for cowboy hats. Beyoncé, I thank you for that! :)

Black dress: @firatkaplanoofficiall


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