With a passion for styling, a fresh young approach and a collection of Fashion On The Field winning headpieces under her belt, it is no wonder why South Australian Milliner, Melissa Barnes is fast becoming one of the most prominent young designers in the country. Melissa's designs are created using modern techniques and materials that feature classical styling with a contemporary twist. With such great success at such a young age it is hard to believe she balances it all so well with being a mother. Her attention to detail and quality of workmanship make her designs easily recognisable among the crowd and command the attention of any onlooker. Here we step into her wonderful world of millinery.
What do you love most about Millinery?
I love the whole process of designing something from start to finish so it compliments an outfit, like the cherry on a cake. I am addicted to experimenting with new ideas; it's a creative outlet that I crave everyday.
How did you get into Millinery?
I started in Darwin, learning in workshops with talented milliners Belinda Osborne and Waltraud Reiner. After attending the Darwin Cup I fell in love with millinery and racing fashion, now I'm hooked (maybe a little obsessed)!!!
In a sentence tell us how you would describe your designs.
My designs have a structural aesthetic with unique and striking details.
What is your ideal customer?
My Ideal customer is one who can articulate what they like and is willing to be flexible. In my experience the best customers love your style and seek your services for your unique talents, they trust your creativity and appreciate the effort you put in. There's nothing worse than being asked to replicate another milliner's design.
What inspires you?
I am always inspired by what I see around me. My latest Autumn collection is inspired by angles, bold lines and repetition of shapes found in the Art Deco era. I am also inspired by the quality of other milliner's work and how they create beautiful pieces to such a high standard.
If you could invite any milliner to tea who would it be?
Viktoria Novak. I'd love to pick her brain and get some tips on how she balances the creating/designing side of her millinery with marketing and business management. Her career and success to date is inspiring.
What is your favourite material to work with?
I love leather, it's so versatile and it's beautiful to work with. It's a tran-seasonal option for customers, which allows them to wear their pieces any time of the year.
What’s your best millinery tip?
Keep learning and stick to what you love making. The passion for what you love will get you through the tough times.
If you had to make your last hat, what would it be?
I have no idea, probably something for me that way I could test out a new idea and challenge myself one last time. I hope this never happens though, I can't imagine giving up millinery!
Famous words to live by…
No grit, no pearl!
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