A family business has become a notable brand in the fashion industry. Simon and Mary (launched in 2014) recently collaborated with Chu Suwannapha on his Chulaap FW18 Collection, so we got in touch with the designer behind the hat and cap range, Dean Pozniak.

He’s a fourth-generation milliner determined to carry on the family legacy.

Standing: Julian Pozniak (Simons son)Left seated: Dean Pozniak Right seated:Alfred Manyoni expert hatmaker, with 62 years of experience has taught both Julian and Dean everything they know. Photo Credit:Aimee Pozniak

About the brand: Simon and Mary are headwear manufacturers who have been making hats and caps in Johannesburg since 1935. The brand and its collections were launched in 2014.

On the importance of hats: Hats are in the family’s blood. They are more than a clothing item, but rather a way of life.

On African fashion: The local fashion industry could be boosted by more support from larger retailers, as well as the postal service. “We have lost many orders and customers from around the world due to the Post Office. If this was run properly, we would be able to charge customers overseas less for delivery and it would make business better in general,” says Pozniak.

On collaborating with Chulaap: This is the second time the brands have worked together, and Pozniak notes that it’s always a pleasure. “Chu sent me some reference images and I came back with what we could do. We were then able to make the hats you saw on the runway from our 100% woolfelt hat bodies.” We collaborated for brand alignment and it’s always a pleasure to work with Chu!

On the FW18 Chulaap Collection: The specially designed hats made their second appearance with a Chulaap Menswear collection. “Seeing our headwear on the runway with Chu’s collection is always awesome!”

See more on Simon and Mary at www.simonandmary.co.za and follow the brand on Instagram: @simonandmary.

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