DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: SOLE MIO HATS
This month we're shining the spotlight on to Sole Mio Hats, a Melbourne-based indie brand offering high quality sun hats for kids and adults alike. Their products are made from 100% natural fibres to suit the Australian climate.
Their signature fully REVERSIBLE fabric sun hats come with a modern and fun print on one side and a more subtle/conservative print on the other. The hats also have a clever DETACHABLE chinstrap for those windy days.
HOW IT STARTED
"I started Sole Mio Hats after various failed attempts to find a good sun hat for my little daughter Audrey and myself. Surprisingly, albeit the abundance of decent choices for clothes and shoes there are very little options when it comes to hats. Most of the hats that are available are either not well fitted, made of poor quality material or there is not much ‘character’ to them."
Kim recalled that as a child she used to have an enviable collection of hats custom made by her Mum (who is a milliner) to match her outfits. So one day she asked her Mum if she could make some hats for herself and Audrey to do ‘matchy matchy’ (mums with daughters would sympathise with her on this addiction!) which she gladly did.
These hats arrived and they exceeded her expectations. They fit well, the brim didn't flop onto their eyes and they were so colourful, funky and comfortable.
Her inner mum-trepreneur immediately convinced her to bring these hats to the wider Australian market, where mums like Kim might find them to be exactly what they need.
After various discussions, her parents agreed to make exclusive hats for her brand.
The fabrics are curated by Kim; some are from quality fabric traders, some are custom-designed and printed. And they are transformed into the coolest hats by her parents in their home studio in Saigon.
Where does the name ‘Sole Mio’ come from?
‘Sole Mio’ (pronounced Solei Mee-oh) means ‘My Sun’ in Italian.
Kim's Vietnamese name means ‘Golden Sun’ and her daughter Audrey’s Vietnamese middle name means ‘Beautiful like a Sun’. The brand name incorporates the both of them.
"Our market focus is on sun hats so reference to the sun is a natural choice. And there is so much Italian goodness in Melbourne (like coffee, food and people); I just can’t help having my brand in Italian!"
WHAT MAKES SOLE MIO DIFFERENT?
Apart from the great workmanship and funky prints of their hats, the fit and the comfort created by it is something that makes them different. If you are a hat-wearer you'd probably agree that most fashionable hats do not fit properly and they don’t sit well on your head. Then those hats that do fit often have poor quality materials or mediocre prints.
Their UPF50+ rated hats are super stylish and comfortable - something you must try on to completely understand the difference. A good sun hat is like a good pair of shoes. Once you find what you want (and/or need) you will come back for more.
They also believe in business ethics.
"We care about our planet and do our small part to minimise our footprints. There is no denying that the fashion industry contributes so much to landfills. At Sole Mio Hats we produce everything in small batches to avoid wastage. With our exclusive customised prints, we use digital printing to allow us to print the fabric in small quantity. This technique requires less water/colour and produce less toxic water than traditional screening technique. Our mailers are also 100% compostable. We minimise our labelling and packaging as well. We strictly produce our hats in limited quantity so that they don’t get saturated and ensure that they are as unique as the people who wear them."
Love Sole Mio? Shop this designer in our Fitzroy store!