Redesign The World
A Photography/Design Blog by Andrew Cichowski

Josh Sizing My HatJosh Sizing My Hat

After nearly four years, I’ve finally completed one of my longest adventures, and I’ve never had a larger smile on my face.

Back when I was living in Los Angeles, Ally (the awesome spunky chick I was dating at the time) and I went on several tours to and from Marin County. She had a stellar convertible which rocked for roadtrips. Being in the sun so frequently eventually got to my head, and I decided a hat was a necessary purchase. Naturally, a cowboy hat was at the top of my list of potentials. We searched high and low for hats all throughout Marin, scouring the little cities like Petaluma that consider themselves “the spirit of the West”… Only to find that not a single store seemingly anywhere in northern California sold cowboy hats! And while that was a total bummer, each shop had a suggestion to make: go to Greeley Hat Works in Colorado and they’ll make you the best hat you’ll ever buy. Didn’t think much of their advice at the time, but kept it somewhere in the back of my mind, just in case. But what of my head? Eventually I found a cheap Australian outback hat and wore it to pieces. Fast forward a few months, and I find myself needing to head back to Chicago to start medical school. Instead of taking a straight shot across the country, I decided to pop by Seattle for a cup of coffee first. On my way across the great northern states, after an epic two nights of camping in Yellowstone, Ally and I found ourselves in Colorado, a stones throw away from Greeley (essentially..). Much to our dismay, we had missed the shop hours as we were passing through, and couldn’t pop by to see a man about a hat.

Four years later, as I’m finishing up my incredible sub-internship away rotation at UCH in Denver, the memory of the hat quest crossed my mind. As I was wringing my brain to remember the name of the shop, Ally shot me a text with the full contact info and address of the place and got me stoked to explore! (Glad her memory was better than mine.) Depressingly, the hours of operation for their wonderful store were too short of a window for me to make during my day-to-day at the hospital…

THEN: After a fairly rough morning of discussing palliative care options with several of my unlucky patients and their families (instead of treatment options and good news..), the afternoon slowed to a halt (no new admissions, no work to be done), and I was given permission to adventure.

Zooming through bumper-to-bumper traffic as fast as humanly possible in a “courtesy car” (while my precious sits in the shop), I managed to arrive at Greeley Hat Works with an hour to spare before close!!!
The much anticipated storefront.The much anticipated storefront.

Greeted by one of the friendliest and maybe one of the most hatly-knowledgeable people in the world, Josh, I was given a full shop history, awesome behind-the-scenes-tour, greatly-in-depth walk-through of the hat making procedure, and a one-on-one preliminary hat making session.
The entrance to the shop.The entrance to the shop, with a sky high wall of sizing bits. An incredible series of steps, machines, people, and talent are needed to produce a single hat. Seeing the workstations from start to finish was one of the coolest things I’ve done in a long time (and I do cool stuff every day, so that’s saying something.)

Tough life decisions. (So many excellent options...)Tough life decisions. (So many excellent options…)

Hat sizing device.One of the coolest devices ever invented (this one was made somewhere around 1902!). Old fashioned, but classy and accurate head measurements can’t be made any other way.

Me with the neat century old sizing tool on my head, sitting in a stellar old barber's chair.Me with the neat century old sizing tool on my head, sitting in a stellar old barber’s chair.

My hat’s in the works, and my adventure is complete. (And I’m still grinning.)

Can’t wait to see what new excitement my hat brings when it arrives, come October. 🙂

Live with your fullest, every moment you can.


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