“A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in”. Frederick the Great said that, and his name ends in “The Great”, so he has to be someone of note. Such was the importance of the right headware in days gone by. Admittedly, we hit a bit of a slump in the last 20 years. There was the 90’s baseball caps, then the hipster woolen beanie and the snapback. But thankfully, etiquette and trend is starting to dictate once again that “hat maketh man”. With that in mind, we did a little digging into what’s happening in the SA hat world and found Dean Pozniak, a young businessman who’s taken the reigns of his families legacy business and started a sweet new brand out of it. Enter Simon & Mary.

“My name is Dean Pozniak and I am a fourth generation milliner in my family owned hat factory. Simon & Mary is a brand I launched in 2014 based on the heritage within our hat factory – naming the brand after both my grandparents who started the business over 80 years ago.”

What inspires your designs?

I am fortunate enough to be able to use the same machinery my grandfather used along with all the blocks that come with it. We pretty much have all the crown silhouette blocks which helps with the design process. It is about how we finish the hat more than the shape of the crown. The size of the brim, the ribbon, choice of lining etc — on top of all that most of the inspiration is born within the factory – old catalogues, finding vintage ribbons in storage etc.

How long ago was Simon & Mary established?

Simon and Mary was launched last year but our factory has been running since 1935.

Who is your target market?

We are lucky that all walks of life can be seen wearing a hat. From 16 year old teenagers all the way to your classic elderly gentleman.

Does a person carry off a hat or a hat carry off a person?

Each hat will suit an individual differently. Not all hats will suit everyone – this comes down to the shape of the person face, height, hair length etc – ultimately confidence also plays a big role!

Where did the desire to make hats come from?

It has always been in my family – growing up visiting the factory from a young age I always loved the feeling of being at the factory and am fortunate to have been allowed this opportunity. Working with my father and the many other people in the factory who have been here for decades – is a real treat and something I treasure.