As Martha Sliter said ‘ A piece of magic is a hat.’ Able to transform an outfit and an attitude, adaptable and always available, eminently practical or purely decorative, a hat is an important yet oft forgotten element of dressing. But it shouldn’t be. Especially when made by milliner Rosie Olivia.
A Decorative Arts Degree from Nottingham Trent University and early training and jobs at the millinery companies Philip Treacy, Stephen Jones and Victoria Grant, have set Rosie in good stead, but it is her creative eye and a contemporary approach to something often considered an old fashioned accessory that has seen her succeed.
Her passion for millinery comes from a simple route: “I have always loved hats. I am intrigued as to how simply a hat can change a whole outfit. It’s a great accessory and when one is put on your head it just gives you confidence and makes you feel great.”
Like many in the creative industry, she started her own business due to that creative urge. “I found it so frustrating creating someone else’s designs so I thought if they can do it why can’t I!” She began by approaching the Princes Trust and taking part in the Enterprise Course, and setting up a studio was in her home town of Liverpool. ‘I began making hats, very quickly the word spread and literally by word of mouth the orders were flying in!’ However, this was only the start, and to really get Rosie Olivia Millinery more established it was necessary to get her collections in to retail outlets.
She now produces two seasons a year, each time a ‘daunting yet wonderful challenge’ and Fenwicks of Bond street have been stocking the hats for four seasons running, which she describes as her ‘proudest achievement.’ She describes her ‘signature style is a joyful aesthetic in the form of delicate trimmings and unusual fabrics while still remaining fashion relevant by adjusting the designs to the colours of the season’ and it is this merger of contemporary and classical that makes her designs so eye-catching.
Worn by Pippa Middleton and Princess Beatrice, seen on the terraces of Royal Ascot, and featured in Harper’s Bazaar and The Sunday Times, things have been going well for the girl from Liverpool. The next step is obviously to grow the business and brand, but the reason is the same one as that which prompted her to start. ‘I want to see millinery and peoples approach to millinery change! I want to see people wearing more hats casually. I feel that a lot of people will only wear a hat to a special occasion but actually it is just an accessory which can be used throughout the year.’
Changing the way we dress through her creative eye – raise your hat to that.
People can purchase Rosie Olivia hats from her website, from her studio by appointment only 07780668885 or from one of the stockists: Fenwicks, Get Ahead Hats, Miquella or Beau Hats.