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Quality is the goal for milliner James Keith

James Keith, founder of Keith and James (Photo courtesy of James Keith)

James Keith has been dubbed the “gentleman milliner.” Born and raised in North Carolina, hats have been a part of Keith’s life for as far back as he can remember. Once upon a time in the Black community, a gentleman never left home without a finely stylized hat, and on Sundays, women expressed their individuality by showcasing stylishly adorned hats. In 2016, Keith launched Keith and James, placing his family name ahead of his own. Since that time, the collection has become a hit with luxury retailers, such as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. The initial collection featured three fedora styles for both men and women in a variety of bold colors and the Keith and James signature red under brim.

What is the concept behind your hats?

Just a top-quality accessory for all individuals. The brand symbolizes family, and the brand has grown to make its customers family.

When you started was your marketing strategy to break into the luxury market?

There was not a specific strategy to the marketing other than sharing the hat with those who wanted to shine with style. The love from everyone becomes the marketing for the brand.

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