Hello! My name is Shelby Parrott and I am one of Polly Singer’s interns. I have been since late May for the internship program that my major requires before graduation. I am a senior at Eastern Kentucky University and I major in Apparel Design and Merchandising. My time with Polly Singer Couture Hats has been wonderful and I have learned so much from her! I actually first heard of Polly when she came to a career day conference at our school. We listened to five people who had found success in the fashion industry and they came to give us advice as we approached our senior year. I am, ironically, not a big hat wearer so at first I wasn’t sure how well I would do interning for Polly. But she is so much more than her hats! She is an independent business woman and artist and I truly have learned so much more than I originally anticipated. 

When Polly first suggested the idea of us making our own fascinators I was nervous. The design and sewing aspect of fashion is not really my forte (I’m much more into styling/the marketing side of things) so I was worried that I would not do well. I can sew basic things but I am by no means a seamstress. My mother is incredible at sewing but I guess those skills didn’t pass down to me. I do think of myself as a creative person and an artist as I grew up loving art class and have done many theatre productions, but as anyone in creative field knows, the artist is the most critical of their own art. So I was nervous it would never look as good as anything Polly could make. I think the hardest thing about any sort of art form whether it be hat making, fashion design, painting, etc. is that nothing will ever be “perfect” as I think “perfect” does not exist. All art is art and it’s what you make of it! 

Pink Fascinator

My favorite color is pink so, of course, I went with the pink fascinator base and theme. Polly was kind enough to let us use her supplies. For the first two days that we went over to work on our hats I honestly just spent most of the time just staring at it hoping some vision would come to me. Watching Polly work with the crinoline looked so easy but let me tell you it is not! Obviously, she has been doing this for years and we had never used it before, but it is one tricky sucker. It takes a lot of patience to work with. My mother may not have passed down her incredible sewing skills but one thing she did pass down to me in having little to no patience. When it wouldn’t work the way that I wanted I would just get frustrated. Polly was able to help me get it into this “S” shape and I liked it but there was just something missing. I tired different type of feathers and lace but nothing looked right. 

My mother took me to Hobby Lobby to look for materials that might spark inspiration. My theme of the hat came from the movie Steel Magnolias. The main character, played by Julia Roberts, is named Shelby. She has a close relationship with her mother and as she says in the film, her “signature color” is pink. My mom named me Shelby after this movie and my favorite color is also pink! In the movie Shelby’s mom says that she, “could never leave her Shelby” and my mom always says that to me. So it’s a special movie to me and I wanted to pay homage to it.

At Hobby Lobby we found this beautiful Tiffany blue crinoline that I thought went well with the pink. They also have tons of fake flowers so we found pink magnolia flowers which were just perfect! I decide to make the crinoline into two big bows with the flowers in the middle. I was inspired by the wedding scene in the movie as everything at Shelby’s wedding was the over the top and flowers everywhere. I had to have my mom help me sew on the flowers as they were super hard to work with. I was so nervous in the beginning but once I got started and had my idea I was having so much fun! It really makes me appreciate even more than I did before about what Polly does because it is not as easy as it looks friends! I named the hat “Julia” after Julia Roberts as she played Shelby and I think she’s an incredible actress! 

Julia Pink and Blue FascinatorJulia Pink and Blue Fascinator

I also got to be apart of the photoshoot for our hats too which was amazing! Polly really let me have a say when it came to the photo styling of the hat which was really nice. And Ian, who took the pictures, did an amazing job and the model, Shannon, is beautiful! It’s an amazing feeling seeing something you created finished. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t do well or even like making the hats but it really was an amazing experience. Some time later, my fellow intern, Isabelle, and I went into a coffee shop in Georgetown and we talked with the woman who worked there about how we worked for Polly. She knew her and followed her on Instagram and said, “She just posted one that was pink and blue with flowers. I loved it!” and she was talking about my hat! It was so nice to hear someone say that, made me feel famous! 

It was truly a wonderful experience all around, and I thank Polly for letting us express our own creativity and lending us her tools, knowledge, and time.