Miami Knitter Karelle Levy Outfitted South Florida's Feminists in Pussyhats
Protesters sport pussyhats made by KRELwear at the Women's March in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of Karelle Levy
Last month, the Women's March brought a sea of pink hats to Washington, D.C. Since then, the pussyhat has continued its takeover of news feeds, magazine covers, and viral videos. The hats, all made by hand, have become a symbol of resistance, a visual marker against President Donald Trump’s policies and cabinet picks. Launched by Krista Suh, a screenwriter in Los Angeles, the Pussyhat Project has turned simple knit headwear into the unofficial uniform of the resistance.
But not everyone knows how to knit, crochet, or sew. Many women relied on nearby crafters for a pussyhat of their own. And in South Florida, many of them turned to Karelle Levy.
Levy, owner and designer of KRELwear, a colorful shop of self-described tropical knitwear located in Miami’s Ironside district, logged on to Facebook shortly after the election to a slew of notifications tagging her in a post. “I didn’t even really know about [the Pussyhat Project],” Levy says. She had heard about the Women’s March, and when Chae Dupont, a client of Levy’s, posted on Facebook, “I need a pussyhat. Does anyone know a knitter?” Levy invited her to the store to find out what the hat was all about.
Levy already knew she wasn’t going to the Women’s March in D.C. or Miami. She recalls, “The situation was so scary that I didn’t even want to be in the country.” Instead of marching, she spent inauguration weekend on the beach in Mexico with girlfriends — knitting pussyhats.
“I wasn’t going to the march... but I was really happy to be a part of such an important movement in the way I know best, which is knitting,” Levy says.
As she continued researching the project, she registered her store on pussyhatproject.com as an official drop-off and pick-up location for the hats. At the time, she says, no one else in South Florida was registered. After making DuPont her hat (and knitting three for “three generations of females”: herself, her daughter, and her baby granddaughter), Levy made a batch to donate. Once those were gone, she continued knitting.
“We knit a bunch of them, we did some cut-and-sew, and ones on our knitting machines [in the shop], and I also did two by hand. It just kept going,” she says. “We’re still making them.” She received an order in time for the local Massive Trump Protest happening this Saturday at Bayfront Park, as well as a request for eight to be sent to New Zealand for Labour Party members.
Pink pussyhats hang from a tree outside Levy's shop.
The pussyhats at KRELwear now retail for $40 apiece (usually Levy’s hats start at $60), and all profits go to Planned Parenthood. “We’ll do what we can as knitters to promote the things we believe in,” says Levy, who’s no stranger to creating community around her craft.
“'Craft' is like a bad word. You think of really cheesy sweaters for Christmas," she says. "It has such a bad connotation... It’s a dying art, [but] it’s something that’s cheap, takes your mind off things, and it’s supertherapeutic.” Levy has been hosting Stitch N Bitch, a monthly crochet and knitting meetup, for almost eight years. The event began at the Standard and is now hosted monthly at the Freehand Miami and her shop. It’s about “getting together and using yarn to bring people together” while learning to knit (and drinking spiked punch).
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Of course, not everyone loves the message Levy is sending with these hats. Her brown eyes light up when she recalls a nasty email she received from a fake client telling her that not all of her customers were “flaming liberal pro-death Democrats.” Levy wasn't fazed. Wearing an avenue-wide smile, she gestures to her showroom: “You have to have an open mind [to wear my pieces]. You have to be artistic.
“I hope to be making pussyhats for a really long time,” she says. “I hope it doesn’t stop.”
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