by Mimi Montgomery
Springtime in the South means hats. About now, they start making appearances at Kentucky Derby parties, church services, and garden get-togethers. If you’re going to don some artful headwear this season, why not pick a topper with some history?
Local artisan Ashley Webb, 28, was thinking just that five years ago when she started her business Poppycock! Vintage, an online Etsy shop that specializes in vintage accessories. She’d always been interested in vintage fashion, specifically hats, and once she started buying and selling some of her finds, the business snowballed.
Since then, she’s become something of an expert on the subject, scouring vintage advertisements and reference books to learn about hats made from the early 1900s through the 1970s. She knows which milliners are known for their high-end hats, the architectural styles associated with each fashion house, and the materials frequently used by each designer. “It’s a lot of self-teaching,” she says.
It has paid off – Webb now runs Poppycock! Vintage full-time, selling her vintage accessories online out of her Raleigh home and sending them off to places as far as the West Coast, Australia, Great Britain, and Norway. She says her home office is literally packed floor-to-ceiling with hats, scarves, purses, and shoes. “It’s like playing Tetris stacking everything,” she says laughing. For those of you looking for your own haute headpiece, Webb insists that a hat is but the icing on a whole elaborate cake. You can’t just wear one with any old T-shirt and a pair of jeans.
“A hat is a statement … the rest of you has to match it,” she says. “It’s a whole look that goes with a hat … you have to build an outfit around (it).” Webb has you covered.