It’s so wonderful to see individuals who take pride in their craft and that’s exactly what you’ll find with the hats crafted by Ro at Binata Millinery. Reading about this designer and his business I learned that the name of the company, Binata, is a Filipino word signifying a free spirit, which is the type of person these hats are designed for, one who wants to stand out. Binata Millinery hats are so gorgeous and such a fashion statement you will absolutely stand out in the best possible way.
I love how many different styles of hats Ro designs, and all the different textures. From caps to bucket hats, pillbox to fedora, straw to felt, denim to wool, the options are endless and all just stunning.
I’m learning how to style a hat as it’s a new accessory for me, but after styling these four gorgeous designs by Binata Millinery, it’s an accessory I can see myself wearing for a long time!
Read on to learn more about Ro and Binata Millinery.
How did you begin creating hats?
I’ve always loved hats and accessories. It’s something I’ve gravitated towards since I can remember. I learned how to sew in my late teens, but I learned how to make hats a few years ago taking millinery courses at FIT.
What is your background and how did you learn the necessary millinery techniques to create these beautiful hats?
I graduated from FIT in merchandising, and I worked on the wholesale side of the industry for a decade. Before launching Binata Millinery in August 2020, I owned and operated a wholesale showroom for 5 years in Tribeca, helping designers launch into stores from Net-A-Porter to Neiman Marcus. But the dream was to always have my own accessory line, so I decided to take millinery classes at night to explore hatmaking. It turned out to be a match made in heaven. I still pinch myself knowing that I was taught techniques handed down from milliners who’ve learned from fashion houses like Balenciaga and Yves St Laurent.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I am forever inspired by vintage silhouettes and style. I’m currently obsessed with researching the 60’s and 70’s.
Where do you get your materials from?
The vast majority of my materials are vintage. I source primarily from deadstock, vendors who sell vintage hoods and capelines, and milliners who reach out to me with raw materials they are looking to sell off.
Do you have a favorite hat you’ve created?
The first felt hat I created will always have a special place in my heart.
What does a day look like for you?
I’m still a one person show at the moment, so each day varies. I wear many hats, literally and figuratively. What is definitely consistent includes the following: I always catch up with Instagram and Facebook messages in the morning, and work to create content. I answer emails and inquiries within the 1st two hours I’m awake. I always try to ship hats and vintage orders before 3pm. Depending on what needs to be done, I usually spend anywhere between 2-6 hours making hats in the late afternoon/early evening. I do some accounting for 30 mins in the day. A lot of what happens is the monotony of running a small business, but the most exciting part will always be the making of hats.
Aside from your hats you sell vintage jewelry. How did that come to be? Do you ever use the vintage jewelry as part of your hat design?
Love of vintage is a constant in my life, and I know that hat lovers tend to feel the same way. I was asked about vintage accessories from a few hat customers, so I thought why not? Give the people what they want! I opened up my personal vintage collection to start and I’ve taken more time to continuously source more brooches and special finds. I do have plans to incorporate vintage jewelry into my designs, but what I have planned hasn’t come to fruition just yet. Fingers crossed!
What do you see for yourself and the future of your business?
I’d love to grow my small business so that I can have a studio in NYC with a few employees to keep my production all in-house, but it is also my mission to eventually teach and train artisans in my parents’ hometowns in The Philippines.
What an incredible dream to teach in your parents hometown! Those who learn from Ro will be incredibly lucky as he is truly a talented milliner! And those who wear his designs will be incredibly lucky to wear something so beautiful and well made.