Hats off to this impulse item

Photograph courtesy of Ikasho Inc.

Take a close look at the fashion on this season of Gossip Girl, and you’re bound to notice the hats worn by the ladies of the Upper East Side. There’s the 1930s gangster-style fedora, called the Evita. Or there’s the sun hat, known as the Wailea, making a cameo in the season finale. They’re the creations of Cathy Shiao and Anika Lopes, two friends who met at the Parsons design school in Manhattan and who now design custom-made hats out of their homes in Atlanta.
Ikasho, a playful combination of the two women’s names, came to town last year. The duo had contemplated other cities but decided that Atlanta had the largest untapped market for custom millinery. Prices for these couture hats range between $250 and $500, and Shiao and Lopes handcraft each fedora, cloche, cap, and hairpiece from plush velour, suede, or leather. The women collaborate on all of their designs: Shiao prefers feminine and delicate looks, while Lopes favors a more structured aesthetic.
An on-set friend helped them submit their hats to the costume department at Gossip Girl. So far the show has featured two of the ladies’ designs and has increased traffic to their site by more than 75 percent—and made the Evita the most requested style. Shiao and Lopes are hoping to open their own storefront in Buckhead later this year, but until then you can see their work on their website or at Beth Ann Boutique (47 Irby Avenue, 404-233-4424). ikasho.com
This article originally appeared in our July 2011 issue.