From the ranch to the city, JW Bennett’s hand-made accessories make wearable works of art

PARK CITY, Utah — From crown to brim, JW Bennett hats are handcrafted. From felt color to brim length and crown shape, these boutique hats are customized, but where things really get intricate are the accessories and hat bands.

Like the hats themselves, the beaded and feather hat bands are hand-made by JW Bennett founder and hatter Sarah Kjorstad and a team of local women she taught.

Azria-Reucassel wearing the Daisy Flower band. Photo: Shannon Corsi.

“Before I even started making hats, I was beading,” said Kjorstad. “The [bands] are all hand-loomed. Each bead is picked up individually on a pattern; each row is worked through this scaffolding, bead by bead, row by row, all by hand. It’s super tedious but so relaxing and meditative.”

Some bands even take up to 100 hours, like the Wildflower and the newest Trout series that replicate abstract rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook trout patterns.

“We have very passionate women that absolutely adore designing and working with Sarah,” said co-owner Lara Azria-Reucassel. “Some bands take more than two days to make.”

Kjorstad takes care to avoid appropriating patterns honored and created by Native American tribes.

“I wanted to create something that was more contemporary, that was more my voice through beading, and something that I can call my own style,” Kjorstad said.

Sometimes Kjorstad sketches out new patterns or uses a computer program to keep the intricate designs and colors straight. She picks each color and creates each pattern herself.

“She has a color chart for beads, hundreds of colors. Just as the big fashion houses have their color charts out and choose colors. There’s a whole design aspect behind it that comes into the work of these bands. Just as if you would design a shirt or a dress,” said Azria-Reucassel.

Inspired by art and nature, JW Bennett produces intricate, detailed hat bands that can be swapped out. Typically, a hatter will sew and attach a band to the hat permanently.

“It’s the bands and the accessories and the other accouterments that create your own unique customized art piece,” Kjorstad said.

Beading isn’t the only art form that dons JW Bennett hats. Kjorstad’s husband is a fisherman and a hunter. The gorgeous feather bands sold by the hatters are all the spoils from her husband’s outings.

JW Bennett also works with artists that create unique bands like the nature-inspired Coral + Tusk collaborations and Mariana Muravito, a Spanish textile weaver.

Each accessory in this photo was hand-made by Kjorstad, except the vintage bandanas.
Photo: TownLift // Meredith Kluever.

“I like to create a lot of different elements and different textures so that it just elevates the whole look of the hat,” Kjorstad said. “But you can wear it simply, you could take everything off, and you can wear the hat simply.”

Whatever style you identify with, JW Bennett has the hat and accessories to reflect it. The hatters offer modern contemporary styles that will fit your life whether that’s on the ranch or in the city. Hat bands and accessories make thoughtful holiday or birthday gifts for the hat connoisseur in your life.

Outside of the studio at 364 Main St #2, Park City, JW Bennett will be hosting trunk shows at the St. Regis on December 20 and 30 and Goldener Hirsch on December 22.

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