Toronto-based designer Jay Cheng started Jaycow Millinery in 2004 after building connections and a reputation for years in the fashion and design industry in Hong Kong. Cheng’s hats are handmade artisan hats made of felts and fur felts.
The thoughtfully constructed hats, Cheng says, typically take about a week to make but an additional three to four weeks if the design is custom. Cheng’s clients come from all over the world but Cheng herself works out of the studio currently in the east end on Broadview Avenue. She says this isn’t for long, as she is moving to the city’s west end to a new and improved studio space.
At her new studio, Cheng plans to offer socially distanced and COVID-19 conscious private classes where students can learn to block the wool felt blocked hats. Students will have a choice of a variety of blocks to work with. Cheng herself has a collection of more than 600 hat blocks she has collected from all over the world.
This season, Cheng says she’s working on elevating the everyday look and creating shapes and colours that enhance confidence. She says they are playing with different colours and looking to them as well as with colour blocking and simple shapes. In the future, Cheng says she’s looking forward to using the new space and resources at the new design studio. She hopes to focus part of her work on getting back to the one-of-a-kind performance-based pieces which she began designing at the beginning of her career back in Hong Kong.
Torontonians interested in checking out some of Cheng’s designs can see the products on her website or arrange a time to visit the new studio in the City’s west end.