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One day when Kate Burch was grow-ing up in Valley Hills, Texas, population1700, a friend took her to a thrift store innearby Waco. She walked out with the "coolest" sweater money could buy (in this case, 50 cents) and smitten with a deep love for all things vintage.

It was a day that changed Ms. Burch's fashion future. Soon she was dressing exclusively in 1940s dresses and dramatic old furs, no doubt causing a bit of a stir in sleepy Valley Mills.

It was that sense of drama that led her to study acting at a community college and to head west to pursue a career. Her love of the vintage came with her. In one acting troupe she costumed as well as acted. When a fellow performer began a designing business, she too was inspired to branch out.

Ms. Burch apprenticed with a milliner in Los Angeles, but it wasn't until moving to Baltimore last May that she established her own millinery business. She sold all the hats (about 30) displayed at her first show last month, and is busy planning her next show, tentatively scheduled in early spring 1991.

Ms. Burch's hats retail, on average, from $75 to $175. Appointments at her Mount Washington studio can be made by calling 664-4220.

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