Monday, February 4, 2013

Adventures in Millinery- Mining Felt


My first Millinery class at FIT was on Friday, and of course I was given (in our professor's hilarious and roundabout way) a laundry list of things to purchase in time for next class. One of those things was felt fur hoods, the material we put on the hat block to make a hat.

Luckily I had enough free time this week to make shopping a two part excursion, so I spent all day Saturday running around buying all of the things I could get outside the garment district, including a thrilling new bag to transport my wares in.

Monday, was for buying everything else, as garment district shops are only open Monday-Friday 10-5:30. City that never sleeps my arse. 

One of my first stops was Hyman Hendler and Sons, and while I at first thought I was in search of a hat block, the lovely and helpful lady behind the counter told me they carried felt fur. I dug through the large cardboard box at the back of the store, and came upon a beautiful dark purpley blue color they were calling "capricorn." I asked the lady behind the counter if they had any more in that color. What happened next was a hilarious New York surprise.

"Hey, Hyman!" she yelled up at the office on the second floor. "This lady would like to get another fur felt."

A harried looking businessman stuck his head out the window and peered down at me.

"What do you want?" He scowled.

For the faintest moment I was cowed and willing to leave him alone, but fortunately this city has taught me how to be pushy. "I'd like to buy another fur felt in this color. Do you have any more?"

"Well we've got like... 30 boxes downstairs. It would take forever to find anything."

What followed was an argument between the counter clerk and the manager the exact phrasing of which I wish I could recall. What I can say is that it was obvious that the clerk was used to haranguing and manipulating Mr. Hendler into actually bothering to provide his customers with the service they wanted. 

Once it was over the woman looked at me conspiratorially, had me leave my coat behind the counter, and lead me downstairs through a labyrinth of shelves and boxes to the boiler room where there were probably literally 30 boxes of felt fur. After telling me she'd give me a $2 discount per hat if I bought a dozen fur felts, she left me to my own devices. In the basement of their store. By myself.


After a glorious half hour digging through and rearranging boxes of fur felts in the boiler room, I went upstairs with my prizes where I was interrogated by Mr. Hendler once again.

"Did you get your hands all dusty?" He shouted down, this time not bothering to lean out the window.

"Yes, but I also found the fur felt I was looking for! Thank you."

"Good. Make sure you wash your hands before you go back outside."

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