In a small studio located in an upscale high rise in northern San Antonio, TX is an artist who is keeping an old tradition alive. Rosa Isela is a Milliner. She is a part of a unique group of designers that designs and manufactures hats and custom headpieces. Using an old world technique full of European hat blocks and water vapor the artistry this designer creates has us falling in love with millinery work. Her designs are full of whimsical beauty, desirable edge, and fascinating wonder.
Hola, I am Rosa Isela, a Mexican designer from San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, Mexico, and have resided in San Antonio Texas since 2008. I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, cousin, and a niece.
"I believe a hat and a headpiece is a reflection of each individual person. A reflection of their mood. It’s like a crown that says everything."
After studying fashion design I continued to search for a creative outlet. Clothing design didn’t provide enough of an outlet for me so I was thinking of how I could do more. One day I had an idea and that was back in January of 2016. With that idea I began to study the basics of millinery and fell in love with the techniques. After learning, there was no stopping my imagination. The ideas were pouring out and it was second nature to me.
I’ve always liked designing things. I’ve designed flower arrangements, clothes, shoes, purses, etc. but the art of millinery design, it’s been everything to me in one piece of work. I don’t truly understand how I became a Milliner. There is no previous experience or family history. It just happened.
I like to think God put it in my heart and now my hands can’t stop. It has evolved into a passion of mine. If I could, I would work on my designs all day every day. I simply love what I do. It’s my addiction and I’m completely obsessed with it.
My brand is unique because it’s 100% my imagination. I’ve always been bad at following the rules perhaps that’s why fashion design didn’t work out. All my designs are dreamt up in my mind without any filters or guidelines and I then do what I can to make the design a reality. All of my pieces are made entirely by hand using a very ancient European technique. This way of artistry makes every piece exclusive. There are no two identical pieces, they can be similar but never the same.
I never have a pattern so the design process always comes to me in different ways. When designing for a specific person I get inspiration from the persons outfit, the type of event they’re attending, the seasons, and physical structure of the individual. The more information I can get from the person the better. It’s an anything goes kind of design process. The ideas come from everywhere, sometimes from different fabrics that are used and since I love shoes sometimes the ideas even comes from the shoes.
There’s an etiquette that involves styles, colors, and whether you should wear a hat on the right side or left side. However, we make our moments special. It’s our moment. Hats shouldn’t be saved for special occasions. I believe that every day that we are alive is a special occasion and we ought to celebrate it. I also really love being a woman. We should celebrate being women because it’s the best and we can enjoy these kind of fashionable details. When selecting a headpiece the person who is wearing the headpiece must feel the “click” because the piece will do the talking for you. Feeling the chemistry will make you feel the most beautiful when you wear it.
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