Brookes Boswell of Shop Boswell, Hat Maker

Brookes Boswell of Shop Boswell, Hat Maker

By Alexander Walker

Brookes Boswell of Shop Boswell, Hat Maker

Meet Brookes Boswell! She's the founder of the eclectic Portland-based retailer, Shop Boswell that carries an assortment of the emerging contemporary designers and rare vintage finds. Boswell is also a self-taught milliner, which has led to her creating the store's in-house brand, Brookes Boswell Hats



When did you first start to get interested in fashion? Did you always want to open your own retail store?

I've always been interested in art, design, and material culture. I went to school and worked as an interior designer before learning the craft of making hand-blocked hats, and that was my first introduction to the fashion industry. I designed and made hats for several years before thinking about how I wanted to expand my business. Being around, so many wonderful apparel designers over the years made me realize that I was as interested in the role of being a curator as I was in being a designer. I felt like I had a unique vision for retail and decided to give it a shot.

How would you describe your style? What et Tigre pieces best showcase your style?

My personal style is maybe eclectic-classic. I love mixing vintage menswear with new pieces, and I love handmade, quality pieces that show interesting details. I keep my colors pretty neutral, and I have to stay comfortable always. The et Tigre Jayme dress in cotton is a go-to for me.


Shop Boswell is all about storytelling through the clothes you wear. This often comes through the eclectic assortment of emerging brands that you offer at the store. What excites you the most about this new generation of designers?

The new designers that I'm most excited about have a mature perspective on the craft and past. It's exciting to see young designers explore their means of production and materials to create pieces that reflect techniques that otherwise might be lost, such as hand weaving, dyeing, embroidery, specialty sewing, and sourcing special materials for details.


The store carries a wide selection of home goods to help breathe new life into a home. What are some of your favorites right now?

We're just starting our exploration of wellness and home goods items. I love ceramics, they're functional art, and each piece is unique. I know that I love treating myself to inexpensive self-care items and try to have a selection of soaps, lotions, bath salts, and fragrances so our customers can treat themselves.


Can you share more about the design process? What has been your favorite one lately?

I look at a lot of vintage hats and try to design new styles that are very wearable and would be as at home on a city sidewalk as a workday in the garden. They're every day, not formal hats. I'm most excited about our new spring collection, which features delicate open weave patterns on the Panama straws. They're intricate and beautiful.

What song has been on repeat for you?

This might sound crazy, but I haven't actively listened to music in ages! I rely on old stand-bys - Bill Callahan and Emmylou Harris.


What should people keep an eye out for?

I have a new retail project in the works; keep an eye out for an announcement in the next couple of months!


Follow Shop Boswell on IG @shopboswell

Shop Boswell website: