Gigi Gaskins, hatWRKS, Nashville, by Brooke Bowling
Long-time Nashville residents may recall Ju’s hatters, a small shop on 8th avenue just north of broadway. There, for decades, William “Ju” Thorne custom made hats, using straws, felts, assorted wooden blocks, and age-old techniques. To certain politicos, celebs, musicians, stylists—really anyone with fashion sense and moxie—Ju was the man who made hat magic.

When the beloved hatter died in 1999, his wife, Gloria, continued to run the store, honoring his memory. After a couple of difficult years, she closed Ju’s to move back to hometown Livonia, Louisiana. With that, the art of hatmaking vanished from the city.

Ten years later, the hat, and its magic, are back, now at the deft hands and keen eye of Gigi Gaskins, milliner/hatter and owner of hatWRKS. Gaskins is a designer who participated in numerous creative ventures, seeking her true art and niche. She has owned a clothing boutique, a home furnishing store, a stained glass shop, and an urban farm.

 

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