Vanner Hats’ Western roots, beauty pop-ups and botanical bliss, plus our holiday guide for color-coded gift giving
Courtney Ellzey, creator and designer of VANNER HATS, based in Ventura, California, shares some of her bohemian country taste with the West Coast. “I am from Texas,” she says with a drawl. “My whole life I have worn hats—there’s always been something on my head! I started a company where I could incorporate my love of design, photography, and fashion while simultaneously paying homage to my Southwestern roots.”
Two years ago, freshly divorced, Ellzey came up with a concept that would benefit herself and set an example for her two children, Blade, 19, and Emerson, 3. “Whatever life throws at you,” she shares, “you just have to dig in and make something good out of it.”
Ellzey was inspired by her paternal grandmother, Mary Frances Ellzey, whose style can be found in the soul of Vanner Hats. “My grandmother was this gypsy cowgirl from the South,” she says. “She had daring taste and a flair for eccentricities.” The company is named after the Gypsy Vanner horses, a romantic breed employed to pull caravans in the 1800s by travelers and wanderers in England and Ireland. This adventurous lifestyle struck a cord with Ellzey. “It made perfect sense for me to incorporate my love of horses with my line of hats,” she said. “I love everything that a Vanner life stylistically represents.”
Vanner’s new collection—available online and at Wildflower Women in Los Olivos—has elements of the first collection but with a more classic and tailored look. Ellzey is passionate about using sustainable materials whenever possible, and the handmade hats are manufactured by a company that supports local Ecuadorian female artisans and promotes ethical fashion practices. As Vanner continues to grow, Ellzey aims to engage female hat makers worldwide.
2674 E. Main St., Ventura, 619-370-0940. AMELIA FLEETWOOD