Muse of the Month: Marlene Taylor of Desert Rose Hat Co.
"I pull my inspiration from nature and from my Mexican heritage. Also, My dad. He LOVES and wears western wear."
Marlene Taylor is the Ventura-based creator behind the new Desert Rose Hat Co. We were thrilled when she reached out to Dea Dia and wanted to collaborate and borrow jewelry for her first photoshoot. Desert Rose Hat Co. went live today and we had a chat with Marlene about her personal style and inspirations.
Dea Dia: Describe your personal style. Where do you shop for clothing? How do you style your jewelry? Are you an everyday jewelry wearer or special occasion?
Marlene: I would describe my personal style as elevated minimal bohemian. The same aesthetic as my company. It is sort of an extension and dream of mine.
I really love to treasure hunt! Unique one of a kind pieces is key to my style. Some places that I love to find my treasures are thrift stores and artisan markets. I used to work at Lucky Brand in Santa Barbara and part of our dress code was to always wear three layers. Ie: Top+Jacket+Scarf+ Jewelry. It stuck with me so much that I would include jewelry as an essential in my wardrobe. It’s the perfect way to elevate any look.
DD: Tell us about your work.
Marlene: I make hats! Desert Rose Hat Co. will be launching mid April. I block hats by hand one by one. Almost every aspect except the hat body itself is made in our studio. We block the hat, giving it its shape and size. Then fix it with all of the trimmings. I make the hat band on the outside and the sweatband on the inside as well as the silk liners that protect the inside of the furfelts. Down to the dust bag that the hat comes packaged in. I sew those in the studio and have them printed by a local artist. We make everything slowly and with intention.
DD: If you are under a “Stay at Home” mandate, what are you doing to stay sane?
Marlene: I have three kiddos and while only one of them is school age it's certainly thrown me for a loop to have all three home 24/7. We are making the best of it and teaching my eldest (11yo) a little business 101. Taking deep breaths and taking one day at a time. In anticipation for the launch I’ve been knee deep in Admin work. I’ve had to stop and just make a hat for fun. No pressure, no rules, just for FUN!
DD: What drives you creatively? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Marlene: I pull my inspiration from nature and from my Mexican heritage. Also, My dad. He LOVES and wears western wear. I’ve taken his love for western and put my own twist on it. My creativity just comes from within. If I weren't making hats I would probably be crafting and making something/anything I could. It’s probably best I stick to hats otherwise our home would take the wrath of my creativity.
DD: What is your greatest extravagance?
Marlene: Live Music. My husband and I make it a point to see as much live music as we can during concert season. If you haven't been to the Santa Barbara Bowl I highly encourage it. If you’ve been you’ll know there isn't a bad seat in the venue. Beautiful views, live music and a special someone. What else could you ask for.
DD: What is your desert island album? Who is your favorite visual artist and why?
Marlene: Ray Lamontagne "Trouble." It’s comforting and I know all the words to every song. It’s like my adult lullaby. I love it and I'm not ashamed. I typically don’t enjoy listening to new music while I create because I find it distracting. Instead I like to listen to music I know all of the words to and then I feel as if I can hear myself think. Is that weird? Comfort music gets me into the zone and for me that's Ray.
Off of the top of my head my favorite visual artists would have to be Andy Goldsworthy and Christo and Jeanne Claude. I love that they both do large scale art in nature. I love that it challenges the definition of art and takes people outside.
Photos of Desert Rose Hat. Co, Photographed by Albany Katz, Featuring Grandma's Gold Rope Chain and Divination Necklace by Dea Dia
DD: What are your favorite spots in your city? (shops, bars, restaurants, sights)
Marlene: In Ventura:
My favorite coffee spot is Palm and Boy.
Favorite restaurant is Brophy Bros. in the Harbor. It’s simple and delicious. Clam chowder with a side of sourdough bread. It’s always my first choice for my birthday dinner. Simple extravagance.
Favorite sight is Grant Park. If I’m feeling stuck and frustrated a quick drive up there always does the trick. You can see most of Ventura from up there. It’s a grounding place. It reminds me how small we are and how silly we can be sometimes. I gain perspective and help be more aware of my presence and grounds me. Fun Fact: I drew the Desert Rose logo on a napkin in my car on one of trips up there.
DD: How & when did you discover Dea Dia and what speaks to you about the brand?
Marlene: Fall of 2019! I’m a newbie here. But I immediately fell in love with the line while visiting Findings Market in Ventura. So when I started planning the look and feel for Desert Roses first photoshoot I KNEW Dea Dia had to be included. So I reached out and the rest is history!
DD: What Dea Dia pieces do you currently own and how do you wear them? What Dea Dia pieces are you eyeing for your next purchase?
Marlene: Guilty! I don't own anything yet.. I do have quite a list of the things to purchase. In tie for 1st place has to be the Atrium ring and Anomaly. Then a necklace like the maritime. Lastly all of the cuffs! Seriously all of them.