By Casey Samulski
Casa de Rodriguez is a hat lover’s dream. The styles on the walls are broad-ranging from new to old, funky to somber, and no two are alike.
David Rodriguez chose hats as a profession in a spell of whimsy. Studying design in Los Angeles, he had a dream about making a hat. Acting on the vision, he tried making one, his first experiment, and sold it right away.
“And then, I knew,” he explained.
He arrived in New York six years ago, shortly after 9/11. He said he lost all his wholesale business and was looking for a place to set up shop when he happened to stumble upon the space at 156 Stanton St. walking through the Lower East Side one day. Casa de Rodriguez was born.
Run by Rodriguez and his wife, Jody, Casa de Rodriguez is a true family operation. Customers who like what they see on the racks out front can get their selection tailored and fitted on the spot.
“It usually takes about 10 minutes,” said Rodriguez. Or, if nothing in the front appeals, one can order something specially made from a choice of more than 600 fabric swatches and Rodriguez will sew it up in 24 hours. Prices start at $168. He also sells his headwear to high-end stores.
Custom design is Rodriguez’s passion. On site, he showed off a bonnet-style hat he was sending to Michelle Obama.
“I’m giving her some good L.E.S. energy,” he explained, noting his pride in the diversity his neighborhood represents. “Being on the L.E.S., we wear many hats,” he said.