Mela Hoyt-Heydon opened her very own millinery design shop in Downtown Fullerton by the name of Atelier Mela.
It has always been a dream of hers to open up her very own millinery shop, and she had been on the search for the perfect location for about 16 to 17 years.
That dream is now a reality. Atelier Mela had a soft opening the day after thanksgiving last year, but officially opened in January.
Atelier Mela is centered around custom-made and custom-designed hats but also carries custom gloves, crowns, and even costumes from a variety of different eras.
Hoyt-Heydon has her work studio in her shop and offers classes for those who want to learn how to design and create as well.
The display of hats changes seasonally to match the weather and attract customers around that certain time of year.
Hoyt-Heydon shared how a customer will almost never have the same exact hat as another one of her costumers because they are made to be one of a kind.
Not only does Atelier Mela have custom-made designs, they also carry a wide range of imported hats and jewelry all on display inside of her shop.
Customers can also have hats they already own refurbished or touched up to make them look new.
These hats and accessories are purchased for various occasions, many like to purchase custom hats inspired and modeled after their favorite Disney characters for Disney Bounding and Dapper Days at Disneyland.
Many costumers go there for wedding jewelry or custom made wedding veils.
The shop receives various custom orders at once that require them to make large numbers of hats for theater shows, reenactors, or even costume events people put on for fun.
Hoyt-Heydon has previously designed for around 400 different pieces for the theater, cruise ships, Disney and a few of her hats have even been featured in films.
Hoyt-Heydon said that one of her favorite theater shows to design for was Revenger’s Tragedy at Fullerton College because she got to showcase her futuristic designs.
Hoyt-Heydon started focusing on her shop completely once she retired from Fullerton College as head of the costume and makeup department after 35 years.
She expressed that it was hard for her to leave Fullerton College, especially after being there for so long. Hoyt-Heydon built up the Fullerton College costume department, classes and program.
“My heart will always be there…it was time for a new generation and I knew that,” said Hoyt-Heydon.
This reasoning was partly why she decided to retire, along with wanting to focus on and grow her shop.
She mentioned how she has always had a love for fashion and design, “I’ve always loved to create, I’ve always been more hands on,” Hoyt-Heydon expressed.
When talking about her experience in fashion she also said, “I design but I also make, which in the fashion and costume world is not as common, you usually have designers and you have makers and I do both.”
Both of Hoyt-Heydon’s grandmothers were specialty dress makers and taught her about fashion and design. She shared how she loved to play with their buttons, ribbons, and fabric.
Her love for fashion is expressed today through her hundreds of custom-made designs and her love for teaching and sharing her talent with others.
To inquire about special orders for Mela’s designs or see her designs for yourself, you can go check out Atelier Mela at 109 East Commonwealth Ave, in Fullerton.