Anastasia Andino should be known as the real Mad Hatter! How’s this for a career switch: from arm wrestling champion to fashion designer. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you?
Anastasia Andino, a Brooklyn native, whose Chinese mother and Puerto Rican father are to thank for her striking look, has quite the interesting story to tell. Andino followed her studies in Fine Arts by becoming a performance artist, then fitness trainer, and then her most intriguing job title, arm wrestler.
Anastasia Andino, or as she is famously known as, La China Loca catapulted to fame as the Ladies’ Arm Wrestling Champion of Williamsburg, Brooklyn in spring of 2006. She went on to represent New York City in numerous competitions. It was in 2008, after suffering an arm injury that she retired from the sport. To our delight, she then began a new venture as a hat designer.
Inspired by 19th century men’s hats, such as Malcolm McDowell’s bowler from “A Clockwork Orange” and the fedoras from gangster films, her hats are made using traditional materials like felt and wool along with some unusual choices such as recycled denim, burlap and woven paper. Happily, she also creates hats for women—her collections including 1920s-style cloches to funky cocktail hats.
Andino’s hats have also been spotted on such Hollywood celebrities such as Grace Jones, Alec Baldwin’s character on “30 Rock” and Lady Miss Kier. She has also designed hats for the Queen of Pop, Madonna.
Andino’s hats are bold and filled with attitude. She likes to silkscreen quotes from luminaries like Dr. Seuss and Eleanor Roosevelt inside her hats and onto the ribbons around them. This has become a signature embellishment for the New York designer, along with striped ribbons, snaps and painted quills.
A positive spirit by nature, Andino lives by the following quote from Walt Whitman: “Re-examine all you have been told, dismiss what insults your soul.”
La Loca China hats range from $175 to $275. She also accepts custom orders. Her collections can also be viewed online at www.anastasiaandino.com
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