Art, design, craft, ideals: the four pillars that hold up Pardo Hats. The brand was born three years ago in Buenos Aires (Argentina) but has since then moved its base to Barcelona (Spain). Sol Pardo, the creative director/milliner, doesn’t make headwear but custom handcrafted art pieces through her brand. She believes that innovation is the key to success and always keeps the future in mind. 
“If you ask me where one should use my acrylic hats I would answer without a doubt: in the future.” We might think of hats as decorative accessories, but the concepts behind each of Sol’s pieces incite the consumer to think – be it about sustainability, contemporary sociological issues, or human behaviour. Her latest collection is titled Primitivo Contemporáneo, which translates to ‘contemporary primitive’, which follows the themes of hedonism and individuality. It symbolizes the idea of humankind closest to its roots and stripped away from technology.
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 15.jpg
Please give us a little insight into the Pardo Hats origin story.
Pardo Hats was born in Latin America, specifically in Buenos Aires (Argentina). With roots ranging from plastic arts to fashion design, Sol Pardo inaugurates Pardo Hats as a laboratory brand that seeks to investigate, experiment and mix different techniques, forms and materials to give a new meaning to hats. After several years of work and numerous pieces being featured in renowned fashion publications, the designer was distinguished as a Vogue talent. Sol Pardo then considered the expansion of the brand and reinstalled it as a clandestine hat workshop in Barcelona, where it is currently being developed.
In three words, how would you describe the brand?
There are always four words that I think describe Pardo Hats: art, design, craft and ideals. These define the focus it was created for and that is currently developing.
What do you personally believe to be the perfect hat?
I’ve been asking that myself for a long time. I constantly search for innovation. In fact, I'm worried about being able to answer this question someday because, when that happens, I believe the design and the job will become boring for me. Finding the perfect hat keeps me in constant movement. If I had to describe it, it would be the one that has so much value as a piece of art as it has as a working design. Its craftsmanship would include the greatest and most deeply secret techniques of millinery.
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 18.jpg
Which occasion do you think is the best or most appropriate to wear one?
When the sun is strong or if it's too cold. When I started to work and understand the world of millinery about five years ago, going into nightclubs using felt hats was trendy… which is really uncomfortable, ridiculous and hot to dance in! The big problem about using or not using a hat is when they are worn as decorative accessories when they have a specific use. No one gets into the sea with their socks on, so if you ask me where one should use my acrylic hats, I would answer without a doubt: in the future.
All your products are handcrafted. How long does it usually take you to produce and finish a hat?
It depends; our hats are custom-made, which always involves new challenges. We create our own collections at the workshop but then I take care of convincing the clients to design their own hat along with me. One hat can take us four days or a month, depending on the techniques involved. It can have pieces made with ancient millinery techniques or computer-generated systems.
Do you remember the first piece you created? What was that like?
The first hat I created fully was a cowboy hat made of liquid acrylic, which I didn't know how to craft. As my mom is a dentist, I asked her prosthetic specialist to help me make it. I made the moulds and visited his workshop for several days. It was very stimulating, hard and expensive. My mom almost killed me but her prosthetic specialist tells this story to all his friends to this day!
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 14.jpg
Is there anyone you’re yet to, but would love to see wearing one of your pieces?
I have a big list and many in it are already dead, like David Bowie or Freddie Mercury. But right now, I have many muses like Tilda Swinton, Melanie Gaydos, Rossy de Palma, and Lady Gaga – among other women and men whose unique beauty I admire.
Where do you usually find inspiration?
As a designer, I have the duty to solve problems, to make this a better world. It is because of this that I think I will always find inspiration in human behaviour or its problems. I'm very worried about where we are going as a society or species. A few years ago, we began to realize the importance of being sustainable, but even if we achieve ‘saving the planet’, man has a lot to learn about how to live in society without hurting others. Because of that, I currently consider that I can only find inspiration in art, even though, unlike design, art has the right to be negative, destructive or apocalyptical.
What’s currently been inspiring you?
I'm currently obsessed with how primitive humankind is, even though we persist on evolution, I think we are doing less than we say we do. That is why our latest collection is titled Primitivo Contemporáneo, or in English, Contemporary Primitive. The ideas of individualism, egoism, mismatch, hedonism, and eccentricity, inside a tribe atmosphere appears in this collection. In a way wanting to show how we really are if we strip technology away.
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 16.jpg
How do you find your Argentinian heritage to influence your work?
Since I moved Pardo Hats to Barcelona, I feel much more Argentinean or Latin American. In matters of design, I realize that having developed myself as a designer in Argentina with such few tools or resources gave me this amazing Argentinean quality that is ‘do a lot with little’. Not having the same possibilities, technology or industry as European designers made me start using materials that had never been used for hats before. I think I managed to draw international attention and become a Vogue Talent thanks to being the ‘acrylic hats hatter’.
Where would you like to see Pardo Hats in three years?
I'd like to collaborate with my most admired designers. The beauty of millinery is that I’m able to share my work with many different firms. I dream someday I'll get a call from Rei Kawakubo, Viktor and Rolf, Vivienne Westwood, or Jacquemus, who uses so many hats – apart from developing my own collections, which allows me to do the work that I most enjoy, which is being a creative director.
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 2.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 3.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 4.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 5.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 7.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 8.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 12.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 11.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 9.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 10.jpg
Pardo Hats Metalmagazine 20.jpg