Aretha’s Inauguration Hat Propels Korean American to Fashion Limelight


Love it or hate it, Aretha Franklin’s “church hat” during President Obama’s inauguration ceremony has been the talk of the net worldwide, with the hat being placed on random victims, here, there and everywhere, even spawning a Facebook group. But did you know that the designer is a Korean American from Detroit?

Luke Song, designer of his family owned business, Mr. Song Millinery, is a Detroit native and graduate of Parsons in New York, and has been shocked by the response from seeing Aretha’s hat worldwide.  According to the Detroit Free Press, within minutes of Aretha’s performance of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” the phones began ringing nonstop at his hat store with people calling over the county and all over the world.  A store in Dallas that carried the same style sold 500 similar hats made by his store within hours of the inauguration.

Mr. Song Millinery’s business is 90% African American churchgoing women but given the response to his hat, it looks like this will diversify very quickly.

Personally, I look horrible in hats–and I’m not even going to try wearing Queen Aretha’s.

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About Efren

Efren is a 30-something queer Filipino American guy living in San Francisco. In the past, he was a wanna-be academic even teaching in Asian American studies at San Francisco State, a wanna-be queer rights and HIV activist, and he used to "blog" when that meant spewing one's college student angst using a text editor on a terminal screen to write in a BBS or usenet back in the early 90s. For all his railing against the model minority myth, he's realized he's done something only a few people can claim--getting into UCSF twice, once for a PhD program in medical sociology which he left; and then for pharmacy school, where he'll be a member of the class of '13. He apologizes profusely for setting the bar unintentionally high for his cousins. blog twitter
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