Hats have been worn for thousands of years. Initially, they were primarily used for military, religious or survival purposes. It wasn’t until the development of the fashion industry in the 18th century that millinery became a profession.
The word milliner comes from the word Milan. In the Middle Ages, the Italian city was the hub of the world’s textile and fashion trade. Those making fashionable ladies hats became associated with the city because of the materials they used.
While a hatter made hats for men, a milliner came to mean someone who made or trimmed women’s hats and millinery was a profession primarily occupied by women.