For anyone looking for more ways to support the AAPI community, consider shopping for a crocheted hat handcrafted in Brooklyn by designer Kae Linh. After her first non-profit capsule, which hit the market in February, the New York and Vancouver based creative is releasing another small batch of hand-knitted headgear, which she calls “Bucket MŨ” (in Vietnamese “mũ” means “hat”).
Dedicated to the resilience of the AAPI community, the spring capsule collection will benefit the WOW project, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to the community-based initiative to preserve the creative culture of New York’s Chinatown through arts and activism. A limited edition of three crocheted hat designs – including the gray-blue “Katara”, the sage-green-orange “AP SHOT” and the cream-brown “Lichen” – can be found on 8 a.m. EST.
Read on to find out how MŨ came about and how Linh continues to want to give something back with her project.
Crocheting is a hobby that you picked up during lockdown. What made you decide to make your creations available to others?
There has been a lot of trial and error in creating a pattern that felt right. I got so much color inspiration that I wanted to prototype, so I had the opportunity to try something different with everyone – make the brim wider here, rounder there. Experimentation and problem solving was the goal, and that meant I would have lots of extra hats. I wasn’t interested in selling them at first as each piece takes so long to finish. Custom-made products are not sustainable for me and custom-made products create too much pressure. But eventually I finally nailed the design and showed people what I’m working on. A couple of people seemed really interested, so I decided that turning it into a mini project could do something good. And if it gave at least one person pleasure, then it was worth it.
The spring capsule marks your second charitable collection. What was the general reaction to the February release and why is it important for you to give back?
The enthusiasm I felt from others was pretty overwhelming in a good way. I am grateful that people have heard about it. Given the past year, people have had to grapple with what they really want to spend energy on, such as asking themselves what is really important to you now in order to feel full in this present moment. And with that, I think people feel more empowered to be open and express their support in order to uplift one another. It’s important for me to think about how this will help me and how I can pass it on – if I can inspire someone, that’s great; if it can be a means to another ministry that does more for our community, so much the better.
Do you have plans to create more charitable collections or expand MŨ into something bigger in the future?
I still have a lot of ideas and I want to see them come to life. I have a couple of other items planned (which I didn’t realize this time around), so I’m expecting another limited series in the fall. We will see. In the meantime, I’m working on my ceramic collection, due to be released this summer, the proceeds of which will also be used for charity.