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Behind the Tradition of the Church Hat

The church hat is more than just a fashion statement, it’s a part of a long and cherished African American tradition. For hatmakers Evetta Petty, Kathy Anderson and Wanda Chambers, the church hat is a crown, and when a woman puts one on, she becomes a queen. The three milliners have dedicated their lives to crafting elaborate and vibrant hats, seen everywhere from pews of churches to the pages of Vogue. For them, the right hat is a religious experience, a piece of art worn atop the head. Now, they’re hoping to pass the crown down to the next generation.

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