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HATVENT DAY 22 - Edwina Ibbotson

From Top to Toe

Milliner Extraordinaire Edwina Ibbotson

Edwina Ibbotson is an extraordinary Milliner. Her skills surpass others in her field. The exquisite detail radiates from every piece of her work. Clean lines and strong shapes define her creations while luxurious fabrics drape effortlessly around her head-ware. No detail is left to chance.

It all began over 30 years ago, in a little shared studio. Edwina started to make hats. Her clients loved the results and came back for more. This gave her the opportunity to move to her own place. Her shop offers an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of hat designs. Customers arrive by appointment only. This gives individuals a chance to experience hats in a meaningful way.

As Edwina explains, hats are very personal. She can usually pick the precise hat for a client that matches their character. It is important to get to know her clients. A hat is so much a part of the whole. From top to toe, a look is created from the inside to the outside.

From top to toe, a look is created from the inside first and works its way to the outside. How someone feels, their confidence and self esteem all add to this. Nothing can be created without the authenticity of believing. The magic starts and works into results that turn heads. A wearer shows their inner belief through their eyes. As they shine, this offers a positive reflection of themselves.

It is harder when a customer knows exactly what they want. Edwina has to guide them towards the best version of themselves that can be achieved with a hat. It is a journey together towards a goal. Her customers often have an event to attend, racing, polo and many more. Formal occasions demand certain features with possible options to push boundaries and explore ideas.

Amazing though it may seem, lockdown was a creative time, a time to think and put ideas, seeds of thoughts into real actions. Edwina had wanted to give time to a new, never seen winter collection. A look behind the scenes offered us a look at what is coming soon.

With exotic customer-made felts from Czech Republic her designs will breathe some fresh style into the winter months. Her Trilby hats are so much more. The shapes are hand blocked. Patterned with elements of ‘The Shires’. Dogs, pheasants and horses feature within the patterns in subtle and vivid forms. There is a delicate balance in the whole hat. Finished with leathers and vegan faux leather trims and adorned with themed countrified armoury, like horse bits and detailed metal work. A treasured name may be added as a final touch too. A flat cap is also planned into this collection to add the smart causal look into the mix. There is something for everyone.

Sustainability is important to Edwina. She makes hats that are worn more than once. Her bespoke service gives her the chance to use every last scrap of fabric. Her approach is to use the best materials and turn greener as these fabrics are developed. She passes on waste textiles and deconstructions hat samples or sells them on. Nothing is left to waste.

She shares her skills in regular millinery classes for both milliners and people that want to explore something new. Her strategy is to offer a space to be creative and support and guidance as it’s needed. This means her students make at their own pace, the number of hats depend on the intricateness of the individual hat or headpiece and in-depth skills needed.

As a founder member of the British Hat Guild she explains the importance of supporting each other as fellow milliners. She is optimistic about the future and feels confident that customers will continue to support the hat trade. As part of a group that help each other, this is a strong force towards keeping millinery skills at a high level in a British setting. Royals, race goers and formal functions offer forums to dress up. This in turn makes headwear an important accessory. Even a ‘Masked Ball’ is a wonderful place to create a piece that is wildly exotic in the world of Edwina Ibbotson Millinery. A one stop shop for all your exotic headwear.

See some of Edwina's creations in the October issue of The Hat Channel Mag.


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