MORE HATS ON HEADS

It was love at first sight when we spied Keely Hunter’s Fall 2014 collection, Thermal Bridge. The talented milliner is known for her use of unique materials and head turning silhouettes and this collection is no different. We caught up with Britain’s Bright Young Thing to talk style, inspiration and heavenly headwear. 

How did you get started in millinery? I’ve always been interested in hats and heads. I think it may have something to do with my mother being a hairdresser. I started by interning for various couture/fashion milliners to begin with and then underwent training at Kensington & Chelsea college, which has a renowned millinery course. After that, I assisted accessories designer Fred Butler for a number of seasons and from there, I started out on my own.

What do you love about designing hats compared to fashion or other product design? I love the constructive side that millinery has, it’s like sculpture or architecture. You have to do a lot of creative planning and designing to create something that appeals to the eye but is also designed to be wearable, balancing on the head appropriately and having the right symmetry for the wearer.

What materials do you most like to work with? I work with a range of materials, combining traditional millinery techniques with new materials and technologies. In the last few collections I’ve worked with lots of different plastics but this is continually evolving—I’m always interested in what’s new.

Your Thermal Bridge collection is amazing; did you have to experiment with different techniques to see your vision come to life? A collection always begins with a huge amount of experimenting. This season I wanted to incorporate more soft materials and texture into the collection so I worked with knits for the first time and some more textured felts.

What have been your biggest challenge to date both in business and design? The biggest challenge is showing people that millinery can be an accessible, modern part of contemporary fashion. It’s a craft with a long tradition but it’s also one that can be daring and forward thinking.

Has there ever been a moment when you’ve thought, ‘ah, I’ve made it’? No, I think it’s the hunger for more that keeps pushing your boundaries and drives you forward. But if I had to pick one moment that was a real marker in my career, it was probably being named one of Selfridges’ Bright Young Things last year and being selected by Stephen Jones and The British Fashion Council to take part in their Headonism initiative.

What does the future hold for Keely Hunter Millinery? More hats on heads.