Brookes + Bao

Brooklyn, NY

With a background in architectural design, fine art and textiles, Brookes Boswell founded her millinery studio after an apprenticeship with one of NYC's longtime hat makers. Brookes Boswell Millinery produces hats and accessories that mix functional detailing with a classic aesthetic, with each piece meticulously crafted by hand and constructed with high quality materials.  As her studio now transitions from Brooklyn to Portland, Brookes is lucky to have special four-legged friend (and Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees mix!) Bao at her side.


WHO is the special pup in your life?

Bao! He’s a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees mix, just over a year old. He’s a happy docile creature, down for hanging out and having a good time.

WHEN (and how) did you first meet Bao?

Bao is a rescue from Tennessee and was brought up North in a dog transport vehicle. I had to drive outside of NYC to a random parking lot to meet them, and was so surprised to see a huge horse trailer pull up. Everyone waiting in their cars got out and formed a line in front of the trailer door, I could see that the inside was lined floor to ceiling with dog crates. When you got to the front of the line you would tell the guy your dogs name and he would go back and get it for you. When he brought out Bao I couldn’t believe how cute he was! 13 weeks old, about 20 pounds, and so fluffy and happy. The whole crowd oohed and aawed and he handed down this giant puppy to me. We’ve been best friends ever since!

WHAT is the best thing about Bao?

Bao is a big mellow guy, happy all the time and he loves to cuddle. He doesn’t realize how big he is, and is always trying to sit in my lap, his sweetness is very endearing. Oh and he loves to hug!

WHERE is your favorite place to go with Bao?

Right now Bao’s favorite place to go is to our local dog park. We take him almost every evening and he has a pack of best friends there that he loves to play with. But my favorite place is Fire Island. Bao loves to swim and it’s so fun to watch him reckon with the waves in the ocean. Oh yeah, and I love the beach!

WHY is Bao your best friend?

Because we get to hang out all the time! He hangs out with me while I work during the day, we go to the farmers markets or exploring Brooklyn neighborhoods with my boyfriend on the weekends. He’s the best dog, always up for an adventure!

"I started making hats when I moved to New York in 2008. I knew a milliner through a friend of my family, and started hanging out with her while I was looking for a job. The economy crash of 2008 was tough for an interior designer and the longer I was looking for a job the more I fell in love with making hats. At some point, I just decided to scrap that career and start my own millinery label.


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"I learned a lot from my work with the milliner that I studied with. It was pretty informal, while I helped her make hats for her business, I would take on my own projects under her guidance. She eventually moved her business out of the city and then I went to work designing my first collection and starting my label."

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Check out more of Brookes' collection online at