Elwyn Crawford

My name is Elwyn Crawford and I practiced the art of hand crafting hats for 10 years under my label O’Lover Hats. The headwear I created using artisan methods of molding and sculpting felts and straws combined with hand finishing work was designed to set you ahead of the crowd. I continue to design interactions and visual communications in the realm of accessries, but I have moved on from this label. I am maintaining these articles online for those with interest in the subject.

There are many reasons I fell in love with hats.

  • They are a form of communication that speaks to our individuality and to the relationship we have to a larger collective, or to our tribe.
  • They express creativity and intelligence.  They create mystique.  They suggest pure, playful, fun as well as self confidence.
  • Across cultures and for thousands of years hats: protect us from the elements; celebrate special times in life; attract other people to us; and articulate rank and place.
  • Hat making is an art form that explores materiality and interactivity in 4 dimensions.

Hats can transform a person or an event, and can also be a vehicle for larger change.

Ethical sourcing and production were part of O’Lover Hats ethos, as was building up the local creative economy within what we termed the Oakland Renaissance. O’Lover Hats was a member of Oakland’s award winning sustainable business incubator, The 25th Street Collective who received the “Innovative Newbie” at the Oakland Indie awards in 2012.


Unofficially Established in 2004 and made into a legal entity in 2006, I closed O’Lover Hats in 2014. My label allowed me to win GenArt’s “Fresh Faces in Fashion” in 2008 for my designs; and The Women’s Initiative’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2011 for my focus on sustainable art economies that give back to their communities.

While I continue to appreciate the role of the artisan and small business in our society, It was necessary for me to seek out and explore new horizons, to find a different way of life. I currently reside in Paris, France where I’m completing my MFA in design+technology at Parsons.


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