Leon Drexler: Toronto’s Bespoke Hat-Maker

Call it a changing of the fedoras: The very week that the legendary Rotman’s Hat Shop and Haberdashery officially shuttered its doors, Stephen Temkin delivered his first Leon Drexler hat. Toronto men with a taste for old-school fedoras, handmade from the finest materials, breathed a sigh of relief.

“Every city needs an old Jewish hat-maker,” says Temkin, chuckling in the basement workshop of his Little Portugal home. Hat-makers of any creed are rare these days, however, and the once-booming profession has dwindled to a small handful of hatters in Canada – most of whom focus on cowboy hats.

Though the studio officially launched a couple months back, starting Leon Drexler (the name is a composite of names from Temkin’s family) was a years-long endeavour, says Temkin. Perfecting his technique, and tracking down hard-to-find tools – including the UFO-like flanges he uses to shape crowns and brims – was no mean feat. But then, speed is not one of Temkin’s virtues; quality is.

Which is why he uses beaver felt for the hats, Italian silk for the liner and sheepskin leather for the sweatband – durable but stylish fabrics that ensure the hat will last a lifetime (or two). As with a bespoke suit, Temkin consults with his clients, discussing different styles and taking measurements to ensure that each hat fits its wearer perfectly. “Even 1/8 of an inch difference in brim-width will suit one person better than another,” he says. “Men’s fashion is all about subtlety.”

Hats, approx. $425. For details, contact Stephen Temkin at stemkin@leondrexler.com or 416-588-4764.

Above, two Leon Drexler originals.


6 thoughts on “Leon Drexler: Toronto’s Bespoke Hat-Maker”

  1. Hello
    Can you please sent me more information about your
    hat, style and profile
    and web page for viewing

    Thank you

  2. Om M. Temkin…I would be interested in info regarding your product, colurs (chocolate brown???), styles and availability…I would be interested in initially purchasing three, differing styles,size 7 3/8 if and when available, at your convenience…please advise me of your preferred method of payment, Thanking You in advance…Ronald Palinka (807) 345-1144

  3. Dear Stephen: We knew your maother and father at Naivelt and the UJPO ..my aunt Sadie was a dear friend of your grandmother ,Ethel Temkin..we were delighted to see your name in the Globe and have saved the article


  4. Hi there! Did we attend AISP back in ’73-’74? Love your work with the hats. Very classy!

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