Creating personalized stories, one hat at a time
By Gabriela DiCenzo Content Marketing Intern
In the field of custom hats, Alberto Hernández has established himself as a true craftsman. As the founder of Meshika Hats, Hernandez’s journey in the industry has been shaped by inspiration and a passion for creating beautiful hats. From his humble beginnings to collaborations with big names like famed quarterback Cam Newton, his story is as captivating as the hats he designs.
The inspiration behind starting Meshika came from her deep connection to the art of hat making and her family’s rich heritage. As a third-generation hatmaker, Hernandez’s roots go back to California, where his business partner’s involvement in the industry opened his eyes to the world of hatmaking. Hernandez had already been making hats for movies, and being in California, a center of fashion and style, further fueled his passion for hat making. This love of the craft became an intrinsic part of his identity, and five years ago, with the support of friends, family and business partner Cam Newton, he founded Meshika.
What sets Meshika apart from other hat making shops is the unique experience it offers to customers. When you enter Meshika, you don’t just get a hat, you become a part of the hat-making process. Customers have the opportunity to design their own hats, and Hernandez also creates collections for all customers to enjoy. Each hat at Meshika is personalized and, as he believes, “a good hat always tells a good story.”
Creating custom hats involves a painstaking process. The store offers a variety of styles and shapes for customers to try on. Once the desired shape is chosen, the focus shifts to colors, materials, and other details. Hernandez prides itself on using top quality materials such as beaver felt, rabbit felt, chinchilla, mink, and wool. The selection of castor felt, known for its durability and water resistance, is a testament to his commitment to quality. He makes sure that only the finest materials are used to craft hats that can withstand anything.
Over the years, Hernandez has had his fair share of memorable customer stories and experiences. One notable memorabilia revolves around Abraham Lincoln’s hat for the movie Lincoln. He was tasked with replicating it and personally visited Paramount Pictures to study the original top hat. The attention to detail and the use of long-haired beaver felt in the hat resulted in an exceptional recreation.
Keeping up with the latest hat trends and fashion styles is crucial for any hat maker, and Hernandez is no exception. However, he takes a different approach, preferring not to rely on outside influences. His approach is to be an innovator and set trends rather than follow them. His collaboration with Pharrell, where she designed the iconic Vivienne Westwood hat worn at the 2014 Grammy Awards, is a testament to his ability to push boundaries and create distinct looks.
In the face of challenges, Hernández remains true to himself and his brand. Competition is an ever-present obstacle, but instead of looking to other hatters, he stays original and authentic.
I choose not to look at them [competitors] and be original and be true to myself,” Hernandez said.
Balancing between offering custom designs and meeting the preferences of different customers is a delicate art for Meshika. Hernandez achieves this by implementing a well-structured schedule for clients, making sure to be prepared and completely focused on each individual. By prioritizing his clients and valuing his time, he strikes the perfect balance.
Collaborations and partnerships have been part of Hernández’s journey. He has worked with various brands and artists, including Lebron James, Justin Bieber, David Beckham, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Future, and Johnny Depp. These collaborations not only broaden Meshika’s reach, but also bring together different creative visions and elevate the art of hat making.
Looking ahead, Hernández envisions further growth for Meshika. His plans include establishing a stronger presence in the cowboy hat market and reviving vintage hat styles. His ambition extends beyond the business itself; he wants to represent his heritage and culture through hat collections that incorporate elements of American Navajo traditions.
For anyone interested in starting their own custom hat business, Hernandez offers valuable advice.
“Be original and true to yourself,” he said. “To stand out and make a mark in the industry, embracing your uniqueness is key.”
As Alberto Hernández continues to shape stories, one hat at a time, Meshika remains a testament to the power of unwavering dedication. With each meticulously crafted hat, the artisan takes his clients on a journey of self-expression and style, celebrating the artistry inherent in each design.