Teressa Foglia is in perpetual motion. Whether opening a popup in a new city, selling out an event space, enthusiastically greeting a customer (she's a hugger), or working on a custom order, the modern-day milliner rarely slows down. Foglia is a trailblazer in the custom-made hat space – she opened her first store in 2017 and hasn't slowed down since.
Foglia's high-end wearable art is not only celebrity-approved (Carrie Underwood, Will Smith, Miranda Lambert and Gerard Butler are among her fans); it is embraced by trendsetters from coast to coast. Foglia's hats differ from those decorated with jewelry, paint, or trinkets. She takes sustainably sourced raw materials and shapes them into a hat before it sees any embellishments. While traveling in Europe, she learned her craft on a whim, not thinking it would become anything more than a passion project. After returning to New York, opportunities began presenting themselves, so she decided to pursue millinery full-time. "Once we had our first order, and I was seeing the excitement that people had when they came into the atelier, I was inspired to give it a go," she says.
Fast forward five years, Foglia has stores in Malibu, Houston, and Laguna Beach, along with extended popups in cities like Nashville and Dallas. Foglia runs her business with fiance and Creative Director Ty Kyle, an artist in his own right. The couple has been working together for nearly the entire time Foglia has been in business and shares the view that client relationships are the cornerstone of their operation.
When orders for custom hats began pouring in, the couple shifted focus and began spending more time on bespoke creations. Then requests for a store in Texas became more frequent, and the couple started exploring locations in both Houston and Dallas. "I spend almost every day in our retail locations, so our daily visitors have impacted the decisions we've made over the years from where to go to what we make," says Foglia.
The couple keeps their creativity peaked by traveling, taking inspiration and sourcing materials from their visits to countries worldwide. Foglia credits classic films as another source of inspiration and designs with the focus of making the wearer feel good about themselves. She wants her hats to make people feel confident and original and loves working with clients to create custom designs. "A custom design gives our clients a platform to express themselves – it is fun to see their visions come to life," she says. "I love the magic hats create in their lives, especially when I hear stories about how people met and became friends because they noticed they were wearing a Teressa Foglia hat."
While a bespoke creation can take between three to four weeks to make, embellishments and custom art are easily available at Foglia's store or one of her popups. Selling out at events like the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Cook Off and Round Top is now commonplace for the designer who relies on social media to stay connected with her customers. "It's so much easier for consumers to stay up to date on the latest releases and get to know a brand before investing in their collections. We love to get feedback on what styles people love and are sharing so we can build more collections around what they want to see."
More than just a milliner, she is an entrepreneur who is intent on sharing her platform with other makers. Her Houston River Oaks District store often showcases other independent jewelry and clothing brands. Foglia also relishes the opportunity to "give back to local organizations in our cities or host out-of-the-ordinary events for our clients."
Foglia is finally catching her breath after a whirlwind travel season with Ty. The couple got engaged during a one-week sailing trip around the Greek Islands this past July and are planning an intimate wedding celebration with friends and family in Southern California. A larger wedding celebration in Ibiza will happen eventually, but for now, they are enjoying their time working and creating custom pieces of wearable art together.
4444 Westheimer Rd, Suite E135
River Oaks District