With The Cheltenham Festival looming and the promise of Ascot and Glorious Goodwood loitering in my summery imagination, I am always half on the look out for hats. Whereas it is highly unlikely I’ll ever need one in a mother of the bride capacity, as a regular race-goer you’ll understand why talented milliners are on my radar.
It’s exciting to come across a collection and a designer new to me and I was thrilled when recently I got the chance to ask the head milliner and entrepreneur behind ‘Chloë Haywood London’ a few questions.
So I asked her how she got into making hats in the first place? Chloë told me she started her business in 2009 as a hobby but it somehow morphed into a luxury eco fashion label all by itself, adding she felt as if she has had to catch up with it! She started out making fascinators, before expanding to make larger occasion hats, bridal and more sculptural head-pieces I was amazed when she confessed she is “completely self-taught as a milliner”.
When talking about her creative process she told me “I absolutely love the age we live in now as there are so many choices of eco fabrics and processes for me to use as a contemporary designer. This inspires me and therefore my work. I am a big fan of colour and shine and strive to embody this in my work at all times.”
About the new Liquid collection – she says ‘I’d been invited to help clean up The Thames with a fellow sustainable British designer who is attempting to use the waste and turn it into a fiber which can be used for fashion items.’ On her website Chloë continues, ‘I think this was the moment when I began to realise the scale of the problem of waste in our own waterways here in the UK. So I wanted to design a collection to remind us all of the beauty of water in all its’ different forms.’
When I asked her Chloë also had some pearls of wisdom on the choosing of hats. In her opinion choosing a hat is not easy…about as easy as finding the right pair of shoes for that special outfit! She said “you have to try a few pairs on before you find the right one” and she stresses that it is exactly the same with a hat. Her advice is “you also need to keep wearing your hat too. Everyone’s hair and head is different, so you need to find the right way to wear it, that is comfortable to you”. In my own experience some milliners are very particular about the wearing of ‘their’ hats so I was very happy to hear Chloë’s take because one year a milliner actually jumped out from nowhere and re-adjusted me at Goodwood barking “right is right!”. It was a bit of shock as I didn’t even know they were attending the race day! However, Chloë’s philosophy focuses on the wearer and she simply told me “if you feel comfortable, you will look amazing”.
Finally, I asked her if she could pick a fantasy hat wearer (alive or deceased) to wear one of her hats, who would it be? Chloë’s response was quick. Alicia Vikander ( the beautiful actress most recently in the film The Danish Girl). She said “ Alicia is an amazing actress and has such poise and elegance, I think she’d look stunning – neigh – MORE stunning in one of my designs!”
Following the success of Chloë’s previous hat collection In The Shade which won the award BTAA Fashion Accessory of the Year ‘Made in Britain’ 2015 – she decided to rebrand from Hatastic! to Chloë Haywood London.
The new rebrand signposts what the brand is really about and who it reaches out to, refining the brand ethos: it is a great British brand and celebrates London as a fashion capital.
Consistently sustainable in its’ design choices, this brand pushes the boundaries of ethical design by using bi-products, fair trade, GOTS certified and recycled fabrics and materials.
With the rebrand comes Chloë’s first e-commerce shop selling her sustainable hats directly to the public and and she has just launched her new SS16 Liquid collection. I recommend taking a look-see!
The hats are my alter ego, my mood and everything I love at the moment…