Parapack’s flagship P-CAP hat weighs just one ounce, fits all head sizes, and can be packed up to a fraction of its size in just a few seconds. Dubbed ‘transitional headwear’, the P-CAP is there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t.
Jai-Yu Fu, who co-founded the brand with her husband Ian Hughes laughed, “If we were going to create something, we might as well have fun and be a little nerdy and funky with it.”
“That’s why we started Parapack,” she said. “We want to encourage thoughtful play and spread playful thoughts into the world.”
Both the sun hat’s packability and the materials it's made from are inspired by parachutes, hence the name, Parapack. “There was an old material called Parapack used in parachute backpacks in World War II,” Ian explained. “It’s kinda a nod to modern materials and the invention of nylon.”
By trade, Jai-Yu and Ian are experienced and accomplished creators. As an architectural designer and an industrial designer, respectively, the couple spend their professional days sketching, designing, and modeling.
These talents naturally carry into their daily lives, too. “We always have tracing paper lying around,” Jai-Yu laughed. “While we have breakfast, after work…we sit down and have fun and sketch.”
Ian has nearly a decade of experience developing packs and bags for a number of companies, which he continues to do professionally today. Off the clock … “I fell in love with pattern making, sewing, and developing my own products; things that I could actually use,” he said.
“When I started making stuff on my own, it got me thinking about what kind of brand I would like to build.”
While backpacks seemed like a sure choice given Ian’s expertise, hats became more approachable, with less risk and fewer upfront costs.
“We wanted to fund it ourselves and see how far we could push it on our own energy.”
They knew they wanted to design a hat that fit the largest amount of head sizes possible, and the packability and lightweight features were equally as important to the couple.
“I just got obsessed with making hats!” Ian laughed. “I made 30 or 40, cut them up, remade them … We kinda just fell into it.”
Jai-Yu is just as obsessed, and skilled with sewing, too. Once she graduated from architecture school, she joked, “I realized I actually had free time!”
For her, it was love at first stitch. “I’d buy patterns and go to fabric stores … explored all the things I could change about a garment, it’s just so fun. Working with your hands is the most rewarding thing. It reminds me of model making in architecture school, except I can wear it!”
“Architecture is actually very similar, but on a different scale. It requires a lot of builders, designers, engineers, and a lot of time. Working with Ian on Parapack is just on a different scale.” She laughed, “They’re just tiny, little architecture projects.”
“How do we know people will even like this? We don’t know,” Jai-Yu admitted. “We have to tell ourselves, this is a looming opportunity for other things, too. We have to have a ‘braver brain’ and be outside of our comfort zone. Just like Dory from Finding Nemo, just keep swimming! We just want to have fun and create a space for us to imagine things, and to make those things come true.”
Ian shared her enthusiasm. “We don’t know what’s coming around the corner and that’s definitely where the excitement comes from.”