Canada's early fur trade was largely built on the fashion for beaver hats in Europe, particularly top hats. The steps in manufacturing hats are illustrated in this image from 1858.
Hat-maker making a felt hat
Hatmaking is the manufacture of hats and headwear. Millinery is the designing and manufacture of hats. A millinery shop is a store that sells those goods.
A milliner or hatter designs, makes, trims, or sells hats.
Millinery is sold to women, men and children, though some definitions limit the term to women's hats. Historically, milliners, typically female shopkeepers, produced or imported an inventory of garments for men, women, and children, including hats, shirts, cloaks, shifts, caps, neckerchiefs, and undergarments, and sold these garments in their millinery shop.
More recently, the term milliner has evolved to describe a person who designs, makes, sells or trims hats primarily for a female clientele.
The origin of the term is likely the Middle English milener, an inhabitant of Milan or one who deals in items from this Italian city known for its fashion and clothing.
Many styles of headgear have been popular through history and worn for different functions and events. They can be part of uniforms or worn to indicate social status. Styles include the top hat, hats worn as part of military uniforms, cowboy hat, and cocktail hat.
Notable hatters and milliners
This is a partial list of people who have had a significant influence on hatmaking and millinery.
John Cavanagh, an American hatter whose innovations included manufacturing regular, long and wide-oval fitting hats to enable customers to find better-fitting ready-to-wear hats.