Goorin Bros. was one of the first local fashion brands I was drawn to when I first moved to San Francisco. I was living in a Victorian in front of Buena Vista Park at the time; and when I would visit a friend in the neighborhood, I would walk past the Haight Street Goorin shop. Each time I walked by the hat store, there was someone shopping and its facade was one to slow my stroll for.
The 119 year old company has certainly been a part of the hat’s history in America. Just this spring, I paid the North Beach flagship store a visit to see what was in stock and found what is possible at Goorin. Not only did I run into Mikkel Aaland, but I met the company’s new hatmaker, Ron Schiller. Goorin’s history has shown that those who work there are born into the business. Schiller’s mother used to run the private label for Goorin, and now he’s making custom headwear that is fun and made with fine materials.
In a time where most leave home without a hat, Goorin has withstood dramatic changes in fashion and has remained relevant given their classic attributes. It seems that regardless of one’s defined style, be it edgy and on-trend, bohemian, or contemporary, there is something for everyone at Goorin. It may be because hats are simply an indiscriminately appropriate dressing piece, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they guaranteed it.
Before my appointment with Schiller, he was busy, with back-to-back fittings and upcoming bridal deadlines. Schiller’s design and styling process is hands-on yet collaborative. He doesn’t want you to leave with just a hat. He wants you to leave with a headpiece you’ll wear forever. Picking a Goorin hat with Schiller turned out to be great retail therapy.
I picked an avant-garde hat from Goorin’s Heritage collection, named Lady Eileen. It’s an asymmetrical wool felt cloche with a varying brim, five-inch crown, and double pleated grosgrain band. Shopping along side Schiller, who is passionate about fashion, could have easily become an all-day affair.
By Cynthia Riddell