Working by day as an automotive safety seat engineer where strict rules and guidelines are in place, there is little room left for creativity in the workplace. Milliner Andrea Blohm is able to find a contrast of peace and happiness in the hours outside of work, doing what she loves, creating beautiful things. Andrea loves the freedom and creativity which comes from crafting hats, the subtle characters in the materials and the combinations that can arise when different blocks, materials and techniques come together to create something truely unique. Read on to find out more about Andrea and her fabulous world of hats.

What do you love most about Millinery?
I love that millinery is so versatile. The different materials to use, ways to use them, and how they react to certain techniques. I enjoy letting the material shape itself and taking on its own characteristics within the design I desire. I also love how a person lights up when they find that special hat or headpiece. It's very exciting for both the client and myself.

How did you get into Millinery?
I studied fashion design at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan and went abroad in 2006 to AIU, now Regent's University in London. It was during my second term when I took my first millinery class and knew that it was my niche within the fashion industry. I continued to learn on my own for many years through trial and error and much research. Recently I've attended the Millinery Meet-Up in Gatlinburg, TN in 2014 and this past October. During both conventions I had the wonderful opportunity to work with milliners from around the world and become friends with fellow milliners within the states.

How you would describe your designs.
My designs lean towards vintage aesthetic, but have a contemporary or modern edge to them.

What is your ideal customer?
My ideal customer is one who isn't afraid of trying something new or different and appreciates the art and work that goes into creating a hat.

What inspires you?
Classic movies and vintage art inspire me, but mostly it's gazing at my collection of blocks and imagining what combination of crown to brim could create something truly one of a kind.

If you could invite any milliner to tea?
That's a difficult question...I've met so many wonderful, talented milliners that I want to see all of them again and hopefully, I will. But, to choose one from all of time, I would have to say Elsa Schiaparelli as her designs were incredibly daring for her time. She worked closely with iconic artists and became one herself by pushing the edge of fashion and distinguishing herself from other designers of the time by doing so.

What is your favourite material to work with?
I enjoy working with velour felts because they are so supple and the colours are vibrant. I tend to use my uniquely shaped blocks for them as it creates a piece that will stand out.

Whats your best millinery tip?
Try everything a few times and come up with the method that works best for you. I've seen the same thing done differently by many people. I'm still working on my methods, I think that's an ongoing process. Also, don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone or to try new materials or equipment. It may just become your next favourite piece!

What has been the largest challenge you face in millinery and how do you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle is maintaining the time I can set aside for millinery. I work full time in automotive safety as a seating engineer and there are times where I'm not able to get into my studio. I try to block a few hats or shape lace or sinamay through the week and finish them over the weekends.

Famous words to live by.
"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different." - Coco Chanel

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Andrea Blohm

Thank you so much! 

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