With a family background in the racing industry, Brisbane based milliner Kylie Heagny was initially captivated by the magnificent array of headwear at the races. Having a background in floristry, millinery was a natural progression. Her eye for fine detail and finish sets her work apart.

Do you think your family's involvement in the racing industry influenced you to turn your hand to designing your own headwear?
I would always admire all the beautiful hats and headpieces I’d see at the races. Coming from a career as a florist it was something that I could be creative with and I was always intrigued on how to make millinery. I enrolled at Kangan Institute in Melbourne and did 6 months of learning millinery before having my second child. Life got busy and I didn’t get a chance to finish the course. Then a couple of years later we relocated to Brisbane and I decided to enrol into the Cert II Millinery and headwear at Tafe Queensland in Mt Gravatt; there I completed Cert II - Cert IV over four years.

Can you recall the excitement selling your first piece of headwear to a customer?
I actually can’t remember the first hat I sold but I can remember the first hat that I sold on consignment through The Hat Box in 2010. It was a white silk base with black spotted tulle and large handmade silk flower. I was so excited!

Do you have a favourite material component you love to work with and why?
Leather is my absolute favourite. I’m always looking and buying too much. I love the versatility of leather, from covering a foundation to creating so many different style flowers, leaves and bows. It’s such a great material and comes in so many colours.

With the excitement of Spring ahead of all milliners in Australia do you have any style or colour tips?
Spring Carnival is always an exciting time of year and this year I think it's going to be huge with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and ladies wanting new millinery. Colour is something that is up to the individual and my tip would be to wear what colour suits you and the style of headwear that you feel comfortable and confident in.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in millinery?
Probably my biggest challenge was stepping away from being a private milliner for ‘The Hat Box’ in Brisbane when Dale Olsson [owner] decided to retire and close the business. I established my own millinery label, built a website and attended millinery events. This was an exciting process which I really enjoyed.

Famous words to live by…
Be Kind, and when one door closes another one opens!

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