Hat’s off to two student artists who’ve blended together fashion, art and business in an entrepreneurial enterprise unique to Queen’s.
Kennedy Cassidy ’19 and Kiera Sitzer ’19 started Dad Hats 4Ever as a passion project. But their trendy, embroidered baseball hats, with simple designs like eyelashes and rain clouds, are beginning to take off on Queen’s fashion-forward campus.
“Kiera and I try to come up with designs together, but I always keep the design book on me so I can quickly sketch things down when the inspiration comes,” Cassidy said. Sitzer added, “I had the idea first, but Kennedy’s history with embroidery fleshed out the fine details and made Dad Hats 4Ever a reality.”
Both students in Fine Art, the product is the result of their artistic backgrounds. Cassidy compared the embroidery process to drawing, but with thread. “Once we both agree on certain designs, we order the hats and begin embroidering.”
Dad Hats 4Ever technically has only two employees, but Cassidy and Sitzer gave ample credit to their friends, fellow booth-runners and models, without whom they wouldn’t have been able to keep up with their demand for product. “Our business is really flourishing at Queen’s and it’s awesome to gain the support of fellow students in an art-related product,” said Cassidy. Their plans are to focus mainly on selling at booth functions such as Cezanne’s Closet — an event put on by Union Gallery for student art — and their Irish I had a Dad Hat sale in the ARC on St. Patrick’s Day.
Both Sitzer and Cassidy agree they plan to keep selling their original designs on campus, while continuing to fundraise for any clubs or programs that approach them with interest. Their website is launching in the near future, prompting the question of expansion beyond campus.
“We’ll stay true to our Queen’s roots and offer discounts to students and alumni,” said Cassidy of their imminent next steps. “We were gonna keep this a secret, but we’ve always planned to expand into several different clothing types. Expanding into ‘Mom jeans’, shirts, backpacks and maybe even socks.”
Sitzer and Cassidy are trying to keep up with the exploding embroidery trend that’s becoming more and more prominent in both high fashion and in everyday wear. “Embroidery on denim is really on trend right now, so we’re hoping to crack that market in the near future,” said Cassidy of their goals for the brand.
Ten years from now, you’ll find Sitzer and Cassidy as (hopefully) well-established artists that run a niche clothing company. “I see myself rich, and hopefully it’ll be off Dad Hats 4Ever,” said Sitzer. “The market we started is easy to expand and hopefully we can keep the Dad Hat legacy going.”
Cassidy has always been interested in clothing design, whereas Sitzer saw herself in visual art or law. Cassidy also holds a position as wardrobe head for Queen’s Musical Theatre’s Bring It On: The Musical, and grew up surrounded by art.
“Kennedy had parents who pushed a creative environment while raising her, as they were artists themselves,” said Sitzer of her friend and business partner. “Whatever is going on with the business, I know Ken and I will still be friends in 10 years, and that’s all that matters.”
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