Aubrey McClintock, a Hudson Valley, New York native, is a former middle school math and science teacher. She has a degree in elementary education from Marywood University and a master’s degree in library science from Clarion University. She now runs A Daily Obsession, through which she makes and sells fascinators. She and her husband, Lee, have two children, Kaylee, 9, and Jack, 7. They live in Old Forge.
Meet Aubrey McClintock…
Q: For those who may not be familiar, tell me about fascinators and their background?
A: Fascinators are miniature hats, for the most part. The styles that I do kind of have a hod to 1940-style hat, but with more modern, kitschy or ridiculous themes. Philip Treacy is one of the famous milliners. He’s in England, and he kind of introduced the idea and brought back the term fascinator and turned it into ridiculousness. A lot of people don’t (know) the term fascinator, so I usually say I make hats or miniature hats.
Q: Describe your design style.
A: I like to have fun with it, and I entertain myself with my colors. I’ve always dressed different, and that has always been a way to express myself. In high school, I was just a straight-up nerd. I did not do anything remotely artistic. But I expressed myself through clothing. I had a pair of powder blue, big, polyester bell bottoms that I wore, not as a joke. I always had fun with clothing. It’s more fun and colorful, and it makes people smile.
Q: Talk about the design and construction part.
A: Sometimes I start with a problem to solve, such as, “How can I put a martini on your head?” Other things I just kind of collect little bits and bobs and pieces. I’m the one at an estate sale who buys a box of ornaments that are odds and ends and I repurpose them. I’ll start with a general idea, but there’s a lot of playing with it, holding things up; it kind of has to evolve.
Q: Why on your head?
A: I know, right? I don’t have a good reason exactly. It just evolved that way. It’s so unexpected and ridiculous and makes people smile. People will look at me like I’m nuts and think there’s no way I’m putting that on my head. … I am inspired, too. There is a guy in Chicago; Bess Ben was the name of the millinery shop, and he, back in the ’40s, was making ridiculous stuff. He was putting lobsters and little toys and mice from doll houses and all sorts of crazy stuff on there.
Q: Tell me about your upcoming trip to Las Vegas.
A: I’ve been asked to do a trade show. So, I’ve never done a trade show before, and I’m a little nervous but super excited. It’s for London Edge, and they work with a lot of designers and retailers who have a retro, funky (style), like Modcloth and other shops that have that retro nod but with a more modern approach. They have a makers and designers section, which I’m going to be in, and we’ll what happens. I’ll have to curate a collection for it, because so many of my things are one-of-a-kind, and that won’t work for a trade show.
Q: What is the most unusual custom request you’ve received?
A: I did do a set of two flamingoes, one like a bride and the other a groom with a top hat and everything. I gave them a champagne bottle, and that hat went to Japan, I think, or somewhere overseas, and they sent me pictures. So that’s one of the more odd ones.
Q: What other hobbies and interests do you have?
A: I am a huge reader. I love to read; I’m a big book nerd. Lately I’m reading a lot of nonfiction. I like a good, cozy mystery, not too gory. I like to read things that make me feel nice. I enjoy a lot of British literature, young adult stuff, partially because I have to screen what my daughter reads.
Q: What activities do you enjoy doing with your kids?
A: We read together. My son likes to read to me; my daughter is more independent. They’re both very athletic, and we spend a lot of time at sporting events. We just finished football and cheer; now we’re into basketball, and the spring will bring Little League. They’re very good at estate sales and thrifting. They have pretty rich little lives.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
A: I tell people and they don’t believe it, but in high school and college, art classes brought down my overall GPA. It hurt my nerdy average, so it’s kind of amazing that I do this now.
Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped who you are today?
A: It would be, I guess, feeling truly comfortable in my own skin, and I think that came from having a healthy relationship. So I would like to attribute that to my husband, but to be totally comfortable with all your weirdness and not trying to fit in anymore. Just being OK with not being everyone’s cup of tea has really helped me leave teaching when it was the right time and not feel like I had (an) identify as a teacher. I don’t just identify as a mom or anything else, so it gives validity to all of your different quirks.
For more information on Aubrey McClintock and to purchase her products, visit adailyobsession.com
Photos taken at Eclectic City Studio in Scranton.