How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?
'Individuality meets wearability' is the principal objective when I am designing hats and headpieces. I like to combine conventional millinery fabrics and trimmings, such as felt, leather and feathers with the more unconventional materials such as wood, food and metallic trims.All my hats and headpieces are designed and handmade in my East London studio. Each unique piece is a simple yet beautifully constructed shape in styles ranging from classic to cutting-edge.
What sort of comments do you get about your designs?
The response to my work since launching my brand in July 2011 has been amazing. The most frequently made comments I receive are that my work is individual, innovative, and feminine and that my hats are distinctive and eye-catching, but they don’t shout too loud.
What is your background?
I studied History and History of Art at university in London. After graduating, I worked at Christie’s auction house for two years in the Arms & Armour Department; I can definitely say that this background has influenced my designs throughout my collections.
Which designers do you rate highly and why?
Vivienne Westwood goes without saying. She astounds every season and I strongly agree with her perspective that people should buy fewer and better quality clothes. I really like Russian designer, Ulyana Sergeenko. Her work is incredibly feminine, eccentric and distinctly loyal to her heritage.
Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves…
To create a seasonal collection, I will choose a theme that inspires me and start sketching designs drawing on that theme- whether it be a period in history, a genre of art or something as literal as spices- like my recently launched Spring/Summer 2014 collection.
I then start sampling with materials- I like to be as original as I can in my work so I like to experiment with unusual materials and try to adapt traditional millinery fabrics. Within a collection I will create a range of styles- from the more outrageous occasion wear to the everyday cap or fedora.
How do you think your brand has developed?
Since launching in July 2011 I have developed an ever-growing and loyal client base and established some strong relationships with stylists and photographers. I am confident as a designer and maker and I have developed an individual signature aesthetic.
What do you hate most about your job?
Not having enough time in the day to get everything done! It’s difficult to achieve a healthy balance between the time I spent on the designing and making on one hand and the PR and business administration on the other- both are equally as important, I really need two of me!
What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future
Coming 2nd place in Hat Designer of the Year 2012 was a great achievement for me; the recognition gave me the confidence to begin to approach buyers with my brand. I am really happy with the two collections I have brought out this year and how well they have been received by the general public and the industry. I am confident that my work can only get better, in the future I hope to acquire more stockists, for my client base to grow and to collaborate with some designers would be great.
What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?
Believe in the value of your own work, never undersell yourself. It is going to be hard, really hard but if it’s your passion, don’t give up. Oh, and network!
Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?
Britain has a rich history of craftsmanship and design and some of the best art schools in the world to cultivate our young designers. British design is indiscriminate and boundless- creativity breeds in all walks of life and British design is inclusive, that is what makes it so unique.
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