For those looking for other ways to support the AAPI community, consider buying a crochet hat handmade in Brooklyn by designer Kae Linh. After her first charity capsule launched in February, the New York and Vancouver-based designer is releasing another small batch of hand-knit headwear 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% of proceeds going to the community initiative preserving the creative culture of New York’s Chinatown through arts and activism. A limited run of three crochet hat patterns – including the grey-blue ‘Katara’, sage-orange green ‘AP SHOT’ and cream-brown ‘Lichen’ – are available to purchase via direct message on Linh’s Instagram account on April 8, 3 PM EST.
Read on to learn more about MŨ’s birth and how Linh plans to continue giving back to her project.
Crocheting is a hobby you learned during lockdown. What made you decide to make your creations available to others?
There was a lot of trial and error in coming up with a model that felt right. I had so many color inspirations that I wanted to prototype, so this gave me the opportunity to try something different with each one – wider brim here, rounder there. The goal was to experiment and solve problems, which meant I was going to get a lot of extra hats. I wasn’t interested in selling them at first because of how long each piece takes to complete. Made-to-order isn’t sustainable for me, and custom parts put too much pressure on me. But eventually, I finally nailed the design and showed people what I was working on. A few people seemed really interested, so I decided that turning it into a mini project might do some good. And if it brought joy to at least one person’s day, it was worth it.
The spring capsule marks your second charity drive. What was the general response 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’m grateful that people resonated with it. In light of the past year, people have had to grapple with what they really want to expend energy on, like wondering what really matters to you right now to feel full in this present moment. And with that, I think people feel more able to be outspoken and express their support for lifting each other up. It is important for me to reflect on how this serves me and how I can continue to pass this on. If I can inspire someone, that’s great; if it can be a means for another service that does more for our community, that’s even better.
Do you plan to create more charity collections or make M× something bigger in the future?
I still have a lot of ideas and I want to see how they come to life. I have a few more items planned (which I couldn’t make this time around), so I’m anticipating another limited run in the fall. We’ll see. In the meantime, I will be working on my collection of ceramics which will be released this summer, the profits from which will also go to charity.