With a flare for design and a love of all things antique, milliner Rita McVinnie from Scotland has been able to combine her lifelong passions to create beautiful things. Each piece Rita makes is truly unique, made from bits and pieces she has collected over time. Using vintage materials ensures that each piece creates a sense of uniqueness for each wearer.

What do you love most about Millinery?
Millinery allows me to combine two of my great loves, hats and antique textiles. I have a huge collection of French antique/vintage embellishments.

How did you get into Millinery?
I've always loved wearing hats, so once my children were grown, I decided to have some 'me time' and explore actually making hats.

How you would describe your designs?
My hats are unique, one of a kind, just like the person wearing it.

What is your ideal customer?
My ideal customer is a lady who knows her own mind and likes to be a little different.

What inspires you?
As mentioned previously, I have a huge treasure trove of vintage embellishments, and I often start by enjoying looking through these, and when I look at one piece, be it a French vintage feather bird, unusual veiling etc., my imagination then takes over.


We absolutely love this design (feature image) can you tell us a little more about it?
Everything about this little half hat is vintage. The French vintage 40's/50's block it was made on, unusual vintage Swiss straw braid, French olive veiling, feather flower, and it is lined in vintage Japanese kimono silk. The straw is all hand woven and hand sewn, taking many hours to make.

What is your favourite material to work with?
I'm not sure I have a favourite material, as it's the variety I love. For summer hats, straw is wonderful to work with, and for cooler weather, a felt cloche hat is very stylish.

What's your best millinery tip?
My only tip would be to persevere. I'm sure we all have something we struggle with, but if we keep trying, we usually get there in the end. We actually learn from our mistakes, so it's never a waste of time.

What has been the largest challenge you face in millinery and how do you overcome it?
The largest challenge was when I first began making hats. This was before all the helpful hat groups, networking sites etc., Finding the materials wasn't easy. This may be why I ended up buying vintage items. It helps give my hats that 'vintage' look.

Famous words to live by.
'It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop'. Confucius

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Tags: #millineryinterview, Rita McVinnine

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