Q. I know it's a basic question, but how did you begin a career in millinery? Didn't you study something else?
Piers: Yes, I studied Graphic Design and Photgraphy at UWE, and I was doing costume making and I guesss my version of styling, though I didn't know it was that!
My mum is a milliner, and worked for the opera house in London, as kids we see her make these wonderful hats, wide brims, velvet ribonns, bows, theatrical full on pieces and we'd see the dress rehearsal, it was such a treat.
Lucy, my sister, and I would do the same as we are doing now. My mum would try her hats on us when we came home from school.
When it comes to my career, it has more to do with luck. I keep lots of scrap books, Nick Knight's Susie Smoking image was in one of them! When I came to London I worked under Andrew Logan, who organised the alternative Miss World, which has featured amazing people, Judy Blame, Leigh Bowery and I worked with him for a long time and he's a brilliant artist. Then one of his best friends is Zandra Rhoades so I started to work for her, and thats how I came into fashion.
I skirted around different aspects of fashion, I didn't have the confidence to put my own designs out there. So when this became a career I was very surprised, but a wonderful surprise. I don't really feel like I'm going into work each day.
Jessica: I moved to England to study Fine Art, and went on to work in architecture. There's something about doing fine art and fashion, sculpture and millinery, all those thigns joined up. Stephen Jones said a hat really is a sculpture. It just has to sit on your head. I love process based art forms and craft and technique, something that is age old and has a history to it. You find all those thing in millinery. It does take form abit sooner than dress making. It's much more immediate than dress making. I have some punk rock tendencies where you want it now. It was a winding path but got here in the end.
Lizzie: Theres no correct route to millinery, theres no degree as such in millinery. Normally people will study something else. I have a degree in womenswear and worked in the fashion world for 6 years before I moved to millinery. With fashion the idea can come quite diffuse. With millinery it s a much more concentrated expression of your idea. The only thing that has to happen is it stays on your head so you can be free and have that artistic part of it. It's a hands on skill.
Jessica: We'd consider ourselves milliners and artists.