Victoria hat designer turning heads on Humans of New York

A hat designer who left Victoria to pursue her fashion dreams became an Internet sensation last week when she was featured on the hugely popular website Humans of New York.

Tierre Taylor moved to Toronto three months ago to boost her fashion career. She went to New York to visit friends and was waiting for her cousin at Penn Station in Manhattan when she was approached by a reporter for the website.

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“I was asked if it was OK to take my picture as well as conduct a small interview. The questions he asked were so revealing,” said Taylor, 36, who was wearing one of her own creations, as she often does. “I stuttered along in my vulnerability, not realizing what the content of his work was based on. I really didn’t think much of it at the time.”

Taylor’s photo was posted on Feb. 18 to the Humans of New York website and its Facebook and Instagram accounts, along with a single quote: “I wish I could sell my hats unapologetically. Whenever someone compliments my hat, I only say: ‘Thank you.’ I wish I was bold enough to say: ‘Here I am. This is what I do. And you can have one, too.’ ”

Within a day, the posts received 300,000 likes, nearly 3,500 shares and 7,000 comments.

The Facebook page for Taylor’s millinery line, Tierre Joline, shot from a few thousand to more than 50,000 fans.

“I have been absolutely bombarded by orders, requests and inquiries,” said Taylor, who for several years sold her hats from her Fernwood home, at artisan fairs and at Covet Fine Tailoring on Fort Street. She also taught fascinator-making classes down the street at the Makehouse.

Makehouse owner Jenny Ambrose said it “couldn’t have happened to a more deserving and humble person.

“She is incredibly talented.”

Taylor said she’s going to respond to every order and inquiry as fast as she can and is considering hiring help.

“An online store is in the works, which, of course, involves new photos as well as figuring out which hat styles I could reproduce more easily without sacrificing style or quality,” she said. She has also been asked to work with several designers and models, and has had several media requests.

“It’s pretty amazing as it really came out of nowhere. The whole thing just blew me away, and I’ve been in absolute gratitude for being given this opportunity to connect with so many people.”

spetrescu@timescolonist.com

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