LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens -- The designer Eric Javits has made hats for some of the most glamorous stars in the world like Sarah Jessica Parker, Serena Williams, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis, but you don't have to be a rich celebrity to enjoy his down-to-earth styles.
Javits sure has come a long way since he was a student at The Buckley School on the Upper East Side.
He trained as an artist but fell into making hats by chance.
The designer made his first hat for a friend so they would have a better chance of getting into Studio 54 in the 1970s heyday of the disco.
"We heard there'd be hundreds of people queued up so I said, 'Mimi, I'm gonna make you a hat, and we're going to get right in,' and of course, we did!" Javits said.
When he started, Javits was warned making hats was a "dying business," but he didn't listen.
Now, thanks in part to his efforts, the chapeau has survived while he has prospered.
His work spans the generations between Barbra Streisand and Jennifer Lopez.
His hats have graced the likes of Lady Gaga and Madonna. "It's a wonderful validation," he told entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon during a recent visit to his workshop in Long Island City, "and I know I'm doing a good job then."
Javits has become the go-to hat maker for everyone from Emily Blunt for a Mary Poppins poster to Kim Kardashian to Beyonce.
"Beyonce was being honored as a fashion icon at an event. She was surrounded by bodyguards so I couldn't get close to greet her, but I held up an image of her that I had in the phone so she would know that I designed that hat, and she said I love you," Javits said.
Then, the superstar blew Javits a kiss!
He also designs handbags and shoes with an eye for practicality.
This mix of cool and functional is embodied by the trademarked Squishee Hat he invented.
Javits explained to Kenyon it's, "the best example of the packable sun hat cuz you can roll and fold it like this, and it comes back to shape."
A Javits hat is made by hand and finished with great care all the way through to a final flourish of fabric.
Everything he sells is guided by his original mission. "I wanted to just sort of change and modernize the whole thing so that it'd be viable for modern-day women with busy lives, active lifestyles."
Javits is a modest guy.
In fact, if you blink while watching his holiday video you will miss his cameo appearance. His great-uncle was Sen. Jacob Javits (R-NY) for whom the Javits Center is named, but he has never made a big deal about that telling Kenyon simply that he grew up around stylish women, and they inspired him.