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Aretha Franklin's Hat

Luke Song, Creator of Aretha Franklin's Inaugural Hat,
appeared at Berkeley Hat Company on Friday, April 24th, 2009

Aretha Franklin's Hat

About Aretha Franklin's Inaugural Hat Designer, Mr Song. 

Friday April 24th, 2009 at noon, the Berkeley Hat Company, at 2510 Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, CA, hosted a public appearance by Luke Song, the milliner whose hat Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul”, wore at President Obama’s inauguration. The big bowed, jewel-studded inaugural hat Ms. Franklin wore as she sang “My Country, Tis of Thee” created an instant sensation and orders have been flowing into Mr. Song’s Millinery in Detroit ever since. 

Luke Song, 36, says that Ms Franklin, a longtime customer, came to him wanting something to go with a grey coat she was wearing to the inauguration. “She had in mind what she wanted.” The heather-gray hat in wool felt, with Swarovski Crystal on the bow will soon appear at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Song specializes in bold, statement making church hats and most of his customers are African-American women.

Song will not make an exact duplicate of Aretha Franklin’s hat, but he is selling a near replica for $179. Thousands have been sold all around the country and even overseas. 

The media attention to Aretha Franklin’s inaugural hat has breathed “new life” into the hat as a fashion statement, Song said. 

According to Carol Lipnick, co-owner with her husband Ed Dougherty of the Berkeley Hat Company, headwear sales have been steadily increasing as younger people find hats an ideal way to create a distinct fashion statement, and as everyone has found that hats are the best way to block the Sun’s cancer causing UV rays. The largest seasonal demand for women’s church hats for both Mr. Song’s Millinery and Berkeley Hat Company is from Easter through Mother’s Day. Ms. Lipnick said that this year she has seen a sustained increase in women’s hats since the inauguration. 

The Berkeley Hat Company, located on Telegraph Avenue near Dwight Way for 29 years, is the largest hat store in the Bay Area with hundreds of styles and brands in stock. Berkeley Hat is an eight year customer of Mr. Song’s Millinery. “Luke’s visit to the store will allow his loyal Bay Area customers to meet him—and will give them the opportunity to tell him what they want for new styles and materials,” Ms. Lipnick said. 

Come on by!

Berkeley Hat Company (510) 549-2955

Click here to shop for the Inaugural Hat at Berkeley Hat Company

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