Lomax & Skinner – Millinery Book

On the brink of their new book release Lomax & Skinner talk to us about all things millinery and how they got this far. From years of designing millinery they gained valuable skills which have come together and are showcased in their book. Their luxury bespoke service offers pure craftsmanship, all handmade locally, proving to be experts in the trade.

1) What inspired you to release a millinery book?

We feel privileged to have learnt the skills, techniques and attention to detail necessary for couture millinery that very few student milliners are now being taught. We are passionate about hats and sharing our knowledge and run small group and bespoke courses throughout the year from our Lewes studio. Writing a book was a natural progression and we were delighted when local publishers The GMC Group were interested in our proposal for a book with easy to follow step by step projects aimed at both student and novice milliners.

2) Are all your hats handmade, where did you learn your millinery skills?

We learnt our trade working to the highest standards in the workshop of Frederick Fox, the Queen’s milliner. We received expert one on one tuition from highly skilled milliners for three years before moving on, gaining more experience working for other milliners such as Stephen Jones. Skills were cemented further with Sarah working for theatrical costumiers and Rachel having her own label, Rachel Skinner Millinery, and a shop in London’s Primrose Hill. In 2013, we combined all our knowledge to create the Lomax and Skinner label.

From the blocking of the foundation materials to the trimming and finishing, all of our hats and headpieces are 100% made by hand in our Lewes studio.

3) Lomax and Skinner is an independent design brand, who works behind the scenes for you?

Lomax and Skinner is a totally independent brand with just Sarah and Rachel behind the scenes designing and making (as well as keeping on-top of the day to day running of a small business!).

4) Your hats are all unique, are they all bespoke?

All our hats are bespoke. We produce a collection every year as a starting point for our customers but each hat that leaves our studio is as unique to the individual in terms of materials that have been used, size, shape, colour and trim, as their personality and special occasion is.

5) What do you think about collaborations and who have you worked with?

Collaboration with other artists and designers is invaluable as it continually informs our design processes and understanding of the zeitgeist. It is exciting and inspiring and we welcome the opportunity whenever it presents itself.

One of our favourite designers to work with is Brighton based bridal wear designer Joanne Fleming. Her stunning designs and exquisite fabrics are a perfect match for our millinery and alongside photographer Jacqui McSweeney she creates beautiful, ethereal fashion shoots that we are always very proud to be part of.

Our most recent collaboration was with Lewes based artists Susie Monnington and Dawn Stacey.Where fashion meets Art’ was an exhibition exploring how nature inspires and shapes art, and the myriad of sublime forms that can take. Showing for just three weeks during the Lewes District Artwave Festival the juxtaposition of classical natural imagery and three-dimensional fashion design was intriguing and thought provoking. 

Lomax & Skinners book ‘The Art of Hat Making’ is released this October, where you will be able to find beautiful millinery images and a step by step guide to making your own masterpiece.

Photos by: Katie Vandyck & Leah hopkinson

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