A crown of pine trees beside a blue river, a fox snuggled up against an oak tree, a little fawn proudly standing in a lace tutu, a fluffy merino wool elephant watching your back with his long trunk—what may sound like a child's daydreams are actually descriptions of Danielle Hue's whimsical hats, produced under the moniker Kreuz.
Since she was a child living in China, Hue has always loved painting and drawing the fruits of her imagination and by 11th grade her sketchbook already contained her first collections of hats. "My dressing style has always been quite casual, like a tomboy," she says. "I love sports and play baseball a lot, so the hat became the one thing of my clothing that made me a little bit special. I asked myself why I was so fascinated with hats, it might be because a hat for me is part of my head and face—it expresses you more then decorating you."
Shortly after earning a bachelor's degree in international economics and securing a job as business interpreter, Hue decided to change course and follow her initial passion. She moved to Scotland to study design and pursued the idea of turning a childhood dream into her livelihood. Here a fond love for nature and a knack for storytelling quickly became a core concept of her creations. "The world is formed by stories and I want them to live on," says Hue. "I still keep memories of Japanese fairytales and folklore of my childhood. Everything in nature—earth, sky, seasons, plants, animals—inspires me. That's part of the reason why I chose wild and beautiful Scotland to live and study. A walk in the foggy woods or camping near the sea cliffs can always fill me with inspirations and pleasure."
Now back in China, Hue plans to shape Kreuz into more of a socially conscious business. In the near future she hopes to train and hire disabled people and out of work women living in rural areas, a process that would both bring attention to crucial demographics in China and allow her to focus more on developing new designs and one-of-a-kind pieces. The trick would be teaching the handmade techniques, which involve hand processing of the raw wool and other tried and true methods like needle felting and wet felting.
Kreuz creations can be found on Etsy, where Hue's genuine approach and love for her work have found an ideal platform for following the story of her creations, even once they've left her studio. "I feel more comfortable knowing the people who purchase my work, to know how they feel when they receive them," says Hue. "It's also a way to keep in touch with the hats and to help with the maintenance. I like to keep things personal, like in the good old times."