|Fashion Designer & Milliner, Lopeti Etu|
The signature touch to any ensemble is the accessory. This vital piece can either reward you with rave reviews & approval or forever categorize you as a fashion victim (don’t believe me, just ask Kristen Wiig). Many of us have a key accessory that we deem as our “go-to” to tell our fashion story. For many, that final added piece to complete the look is a hat. For this next installment of my series highlighting innovative and ground breaking Pasifika fashion talent, I introduce to you, Lopeti Etu.
Lopeti Etu is an innovative fashion designer and milliner based in New York City who draws inspiration from the world around him. Etu hand blocks all his hats, and creates one of a kind pieces using local suppliers and craftspeople.
After having worked in the fashion industry for many years, Etu took a risk and started his own millinery label in 2010 with business partner, David Balluff. They aspire to bring daring and verve back into the New York millinery world.
Lopeti Etu first became introduced to hats and hatmaking when his grandfather made him a straw hat in his native Tonga for a school dance. Etu recalls that while most children were wearing store-bought hats, his grandfather's hand-woven creation made him happy.
His millinery designs have appeared on the cover of French Vogue, and in editorial shoots for Elle, Bazaar, O, Glamour and Self. Several of Etu's hats also made an appearance on the first season of Bravo's Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, worn by contestant Nao Bustamante.
*Photo Credit: King Redman
Check out some of my favorite pieces from Etu's Spring 2011 collection: