The Emerging Fashion Brand Poche Is Making Cake-Inspired Bucket Hats

The idea for Poche Studio—“an atelier that investigates the nuances and constructions of everyday wear and living” started by Gabrielle Datau and Jiro Maestu—first sparked during an international trip between the two partners in 2014. “After Gabby and I met we took a six month trip to Japan, Indonesia, and across Europe, traveling with home sewing machines and buying fabric in each location and then sewing and creating garments along the way,” the brand’s co-founder Jiro Maestu tells Teen Vogue over the phone. The trip exposed the duo to all walks of life and helped them rediscover their own “personal landscapes”, Gabrielle is Indonesian-American while Jiro is Japanese-American and French.

Spending time visiting with family and observing life in these distinct places helped give the creative duo a new perspective on everyday life. Following the trip, both decided to spend time brushing up on their skills before diving into starting a full-fledged company. Jiro went onto study couture in Paris while Gabby took sewing and pattern making classes at a Los Angeles trade school. In October 2018 they officially launched Poche Studio, with a series of pieces that serve as bettered versions of the items they initially made along their trips.

Exploring the relationships between humans, dress, and other things such as furnishings and homeware, the brand aims to be for “everyday use” and “everyday wear”. Sourcing all of their textiles themselves in Los Angeles and working with a local, family-run factory, they mainly use secondhand and deadstock vintage fabrics to make their designs, which include button down shirts and patchwork dresses made using sheer fabric, crinkle silk trousers, sweaters made from recycled knits, and other limited edition items.

A girl wears a bucket hat and sheer button down top
Courtesy of Poche Studio

Last summer, they added bucket hats of all varieties to their line up, including reversible cow print ones, felted wool versions with embroidery, floral denim hats, and many others. “We originally made them because I wanted one and we couldn’t find any cool ones we could buy,” says Gabby. In this way, the item came out of a personal necessity, and grew organically from there. Adding little details to the hats along the way, one of their latest bucket hat creations was created using layers of leftover scraps, which gives it an exaggerated sense of texture that resembles a colorful cake. “In an effort to minimize waste across the board we really try and save every single scrap and believe almost anything can be recycled or reused,” Gabby adds.

The creative says she’s always loved bucket hats, even when people thought they were ugly ten years ago. “It’s something you can express more individuality with or you can play down the whole outfit and wear something crazy on your head,” says Jiro. The duo calls their creation process “magical” and they often make one off designs for special events.

A person wears a bucket hat covered in fabric
Courtesy of Poche Studio

For example, starting this weekend, the brand will participate in a pop-up event organized by New York-based independent retailer Cafe Forgot, taking place at Stand Up Comedy in Portland, Oregon. Featuring a slew of emerging designers, many of whom who upcycle their goods, the pop-up will run until June 8. During the event, Poche Studio will be selling limited edition products such as mesh tops and t-shirts done in collaboration with an illustrator.

A girl wears a gingham bucket hat and plays with her hair
Courtesy of Poche Studio

When it comes to their design process, the duo calls it “emotional”, expressing, “We create our own rhythm that doesn’t conform or follow any systematic approach like the retail or fashion calendar.” Currently working with a few select retailers, Gabby and Jio make a point to work closely with each store and create things that are specific to their aesthetic and needs.

What’s up next for Poche Studio? Gabby says, “I would love to do more workshops, whether that’s sewing or repurposing clothing, and teach the kids how to sew and be more self sufficient because I know when I was younger I wish that I’d had that.” Ultimately, craftsmanship and community remain important to the collaborators in everything that they do.

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