The Cat Is the Hat

The Power of a Pink Hat

From California to DC to Seattle, the Pussyhat Project has inspired knitting as political action.

By Rosin Saez January 20, 2017

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A pussyhat in the wild, and its wearer, Weaving Works' yarn wrangler, Jennifer Miller. Photo courtesy Weaving Works

On January 21, you may spy people sporting more pink than usual. A day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, an estimated 250,000 people will march in Washington, DC. And a good sum of those thousands will be wearing rosy-hued, cat-eared head gear.

Enter the Pussyhat Project, which was founded by Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman; neither are crafters by trade, a screenwriter and architect, respectively, who reside in California. Their mission is simple, but impactful: Bedeck thousands of marching heads in pink knit hats—it’s hard to ignore such a visual—and give non-marchers a means to participate and express solidarity. It’s also practical as hell in 40-degree weather.

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A batch of dyed yarn, awaiting its pussyhat fate. Photo: Weaving Works

To pull it off, knitters of every age and gender and skill level would be needed. Also, yarn. A lot of it. Weaving Works in Roosevelt has been at it since Thanksgiving. “We figured we’d get a few dozen hats to DC,” says manager Jessica Owens. Weaving Works and local knitters have actually sent 800 pussyhats. They mail them, they give them to DC-bound Seattleites. 

And 800 pink hats require quite a bit of pink yarn. After a Seattle Times article, demand skyrocketed, forcing Weaving Works to dye 47 kilos of yarn pink, even doing so at midnight if they had to.

Owens says it’s about validation: “Anyone who can knit can be a part of it. This is an incremental thing I can do since I’m not going to DC.”

Sister marches to the Women’s March on Washington, like the one here in Seattle, will no doubt see plenty of pussyhat-adorned folk in a sea of pink standing together for women’s rights and threats thereof.

What is fashion if not political? (See: Beyoncé's Super Bowl performance, and WNBA athletes' Black Lives Matter shirts in lieu of jerseys, and Seattle's own Chema Jamel Oh’s Boutique Al Firdaws transforming mainstream Muslim style.) Fashion has so often been created to make statements, some innocuous, some definitely less so, but rarely accidental. Perhaps darker times call for pinker hats. And the badass people who wear them. 

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