I'd be interested to know your thoughts/feelings on the direction of millinery. Laser cutting, digital printing, Perspex cutting.... Where does 'handmade' millinery sit and how do we follow these trends seeing the technolgy has such a big cost outlay associated with it. How do we keep up and not get left behind?

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3d printed fascinator? More an engineering feat than a fashion piece...

I am not concerned at all.  Our handmade hats will become a sought after commodity.  It will be considered a lost art and I think people will come to value hand made creations more and more.

Denise's Hat Creations

Denise Dorony

I think that it is two separate markets.  Quality craftsmen and women will always have a niche.

This is probably the first elaborate 3D printed piece of millinery, video here

I am not concerned either and I also believe they are two different markets. It is like the difference between Ready-to-wear, Couture, and home sewn clothing. There is room for all. It is just like the markets for traditional hats and radical hats, there are buyers for both. It will really depend on what clothing designers and fashion magazines do. If they embrace the new technology over hand made then technology will come to the head of the line.

Our business, in large part, depends on what is the fad or fashion of the time. The key to the business surviving is to get the average person to want to wear our product. The more radical or bizzare our product becomes, the deeper we dig our own grave.

If we are unable to invest the outlay for such technology and time to learn & execute the software, or wish to continue with traditional millinery - One thing we could stress and promote, as the main point of difference, is the unique element of traditional millinery, and the hand made craft element. No one wants to be seen in the same hat, especially if you are competing in fashion competitions etc. This is something I believe many customers would value and appreciate.

No disrespect to digital or laser cut design - I have seen some beautiful creations that would definitely involve a great level of CAD skill, and it has great scope for other applications. But we and probably even consumers, should understand the commercial nature of this computer assisted design.
Once a design is digitally drafted or set up, it can be replicated infinite times with the simple press of a button (And if you have spent the hours setting up that design, why wouldn't you replicate it multiple times), and with very little time or effort. Essentially, producing mass output for very little overhead - as a retail commercial product, it's potentially very profitable. But as 'Couture' and bespoke millinery, using the one design template is possibly quite limiting.

I am of the same opinion as the others, although I think it is a form of cheating, as couture millinery should involve some handwork and finishing! In competitions there should be a separate section for those who use this form of hat making as I reckon that it is unfair to other milliners who use traditional techniques to make couture hats!

The shapes achieved are admirable and impressive, but this is also the same for the jewellery trade in which all is computerised!!! and when entering competitions there should be clear distinct segments for entry and judgement. There is nothing more unique than a hand made piece and it is more aesthetically pleasing than the perfectitude of machine made goods.


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