the crochet food hats you never knew you always wanted

Phil Ferguson makes all your food emoji dreams come true.

by Jamie-Maree Shipton
22 May 2015, 1:45am

Jacket and skirt IDOL

To say Phil Ferguson makes hats seems a bit short sighted. As Chiliphili the Melbourne crochet maverick creates cartoonish fantasies that live somewhere between fashion and art. The stuff Instagram dreams are made of, his witty and very comfortable looking pieces have collected a wide reaching online following. Which isn't surprising, considering he's pretty much bringing emojis to life. We chatted about what goes into making a burger hat, and discovered-not surprisingly-people who crochet giant pizzas are the nicest people.

Hey Phil, how did you get into making your creations?
I started making hats when I moved to Melbourne from Perth a little over a year ago. I guess the combination of the weather, RuPaul's Drag Race, and lots of free time really got me into making these hats, which for myself, I always imagine being a part of my own drag. Though it wasn't until I started my Instagram that I tried to make them at the rate I have been.

How long have you been doing Chiliphilly for?
Since late August last year! So not even a year at this point.

Trench Comme Des Garçons X Junya Watanabe at Madam Virtue, jumpsuit Fame Agenda 

That's crazy considering how popular they are. What is your fascination with food?
Well other than working within art environments, I've only ever worked in hospitality so I've always been around it. Now I live in Melbourne the food culture here is so much more intense than in Perth. I always see inspiration in food because of the environment I'm in.

How long do the pieces take to make?
They take one or two days. I always try to commit to a solid six or so hours, drinking heaps of coffee, and not doing much else. I'd rather work on something and smash it out than do small increments and take a longer period of time.

Knit Walter Van Beirendonck Squiggle at dot.COMME

What's the process of making them?
I usually have the idea in my head, buy the appropriate coloured wool, and go straight to crocheting them. That's really why I like doing it all in one sitting because I don't plan what it will be like until it is actually being made.

Do you get many commissions?
I've had a few here and there, but they have all stemmed from some sort of social interaction. I only really make them for my own enjoyment, I don't see much fun in receiving money for them. I'd rather meet new people and experience new things through what I'm doing than stress myself out making things just so I can make money.

Knit Issey Miyake, dress Come Des Garcon both at dot.COMME 

How is seeing you creations in an editorial environment?
It's great to see the process of a shoot, and I am always keen on collaborations, so seeing what other people do with my things is really fun! It's interesting to see how people interpret your pieces and how they an use them in their own work. I've loved it all so far!

Would you ever consider making things other than food?
I've done a few non food things here and there but food is what I'm mainly known for, so I might not deviate from that any time soon. But it's always an idea! Maybe if I ever have an exhibition I'll generate new content that's not food-but we'll see when that comes around!

Where to from here?
To be honest, I have no plans long term with what I'm doing. I always have ideas: an exhibition, books, video works, but nothing actually planned. I want to do some traveling so I can make connections with all the people I'm "meeting" through Instagram. I'm open to lots of ideas, especially if they involve meeting up and making friends. I'm just approaching everything as it comes because I never really expected to get to this point so soon already!

Dress Comme Des Garcon at Madam Virtue

Knit Walter Van Beirendonck at dot.COMME, gloves stylist's own


Text Jamie-Maree Shipton
Photography Tré & Elmaz
Styling Gustavo Pallacios
Hair Bernice Mansfield
Make-up Becca Gilmartin
Make-up assistance Emily Moran
Model Brigitte Murphy at IMG models / Pride Models
Nail Artist Clara H

Phil Ferguson