THA Tips Its Hats During Annual Industry Dinner

Millinery Guild members celebrate

Millinery Guild members celebrate

New York—Does anyone still wear a hat? They sure do! (I’ll drink to that!). Last year headwear were up 16% in dollar sales, The NPD Group reports. And more than 125 folks donned hats and had good reason to celebrate the industry and its honorees last week at the 106th annual The Headwear Association Dinner.

Held once again at the Boathouse in Central Park, and blessed with a spectacular spring day, THA dinner was filled to the brim with attendees brandishing hats of all sorts: boaters, fascinators, fedoras, cocktail hats, you name it.

‘Hat Industry is Infectious’

Accepting the award for Retailer of the Year was John McKernan, owner/founder of Chapel Hats, which has more than a dozen stores in California, Hawaii, Nevada, Minnesota and Canada. McKernan noted the mission of Chapel Hats was to market headwear to a new generation. The store’s name originates from “the architectural salvage we found for our first store, which was from a 100-year-old church in Europe. Every Chapel store has a story to tell. Every is build using old pieces and architectural designs from old shops, factories, pubs and churches,” he said. “When you step foot in any of our shops, you will be taken to a time period of quality, value and customer service.” (

Art Gardner presents Todd Gardner with the David Leiberman award

Art Gardner presents Todd Gardner with the David Leiberman award

Don MacLeod received the Ben Rosenthal Award posthumously. MacLeod, who died last year, was an industry veteran, past president of THA, former president/ceo at Bollman Hat and Caledonia Hat Company which he founded post-retirement to cater to the Amish and Mennonite community.

Receiving the David Lieberman Award from his father Art Gardner was Todd Gardner, senior vice president of merchandise and marketing at Dorfman Pacific Co. Gardner was also THA over the last year, helping to bring in new members and sponsors.

“The hat industry is infectious,” said Gardner, thanking those present from the industry for their support.

This year’s recipient of the THA Baik Scholarship was Anna Hammam, a student of accessories design and millinery at FIT.

Garth and Hannah Watrous, Steampunk Hatters

Garth and Hannah Watrous, Steampunk Hatters

Save the date: the next THA annual dinner is scheduled for Thursday, April 16, 2015.


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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology.