Monique Lee

Hat designer Monique Lee has pioneered The Hat Circle, an online platform featuring beautiful hats for every occasion, crafted by talented independent designers

As an independent fashion designer, Monique was well aware how difficult the fashion world can be for aspiring creatives. That’s what prompted her to launch The Hat Circle, a platform that helps global hat designers market their unique creativity to the fashionable hat wearers around the world. The website was born from her own experiences curating the London Hat Week exhibition.

“People from all over the world were sending their amazing, artistic hats to me for the exhibition,” she explains. “During the exhibitions people always asked if the hats were for sale and where they could find more like them. Most of these milliners are working full-time jobs and don’t have time to make a website or get their hats into department stores. I set up The Hat Circle as a marketplace where these really beautiful and unique hats could be bought and treasured by people from all over the world.”

Through The Hat Circle and its parent company X Terrace, she has curated the London Hat Week exhibitions and organized pop-up hat shops in Kensington, London annually since 2014. “The idea of the company is to bring people together because I know, as an independent designer, that you do not get a lot of attention,” she says. “We have worked with over 750 designers and showcased around 3,000 hats from all over the world.”

While X Terrace is a platform that supports the wider fashion community, The Hat Circle specifically focuses on hats and milliners, showcasing designs for every occasion. The website is a place for designers to show off their wares and also for customers to find unique hats to hire and buy. “I did a survey to find out from my customers what they needed and then started to create an online community for people to learn about hats and the glamorous hat wearing lifestyle – what style of hat to wear, where to find a hat to buy or hire, and where you can wear it,” she says. “It tells you about the elegant social events where you can wear hats and where to find designers. It’s a way of bringing all the milliners together so they can be discovered by customers, so that everyone can feel connected.”