What's your everyday job?
I am a project manager for a digital agency. I communicate with clients to help deliver their dream websites. I am lucky enough to be looking after pretty awesome projects, such as the British Fashion Council’s website and NHS microsites, providing advice and information to young people.
And what's your side hustle?
I make hats. My project is called Antigone Millinery, and at the moment the concept is based around turbans. My creative process is very organic, it will change and evolve, so stay tuned. I have started to work on a new collection, which should be ready this fall.
I work from the same pattern for all my turbans; the weight and weave of the fabrics achieve different looks and shapes. Each turban is hand draped, meaning that each piece is unique and has its own little details. Then for some models, I will embellish the fabric, using a mix of raw minerals and Swarovski crystals.
My first collection was inspired by Jean Cocteau’s work and I commissioned bespoke prints based on his drawings from the amazing textile designers at Casca Studio. For the non-printed pieces, I worked with a very restrained but carefully chosen colour palette, with a focus on the draping and quality of the fabrics.
How did you first get into millinery?
My grandmas were seamstresses and I learnt to sew beside them while growing up. After studying at the Beaux Arts in Lyon, France, I decided that I wanted to go back to threads and needles, and hats seemed like an obvious choice. I studied towards a technical degree in millinery at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture in Paris, and then obtained another millinery certification at Kensington and Chelsea College in London.
After this, I dedicated myself entirely to hats for a few years before going into a career in digital. I worked in Stephen Jones’ workrooms in Covent Garden and freelanced for various and great designers like Piers Atkinson, Benoit Missolin and 8DIX. I’ve made hats out of melted records, Barbie dolls, and neon! And some pretty amazing people have worn them such as Rihanna, Mick Jagger, Dita Von Teese, Kylie Minogue… the list goes on.
How do you balance your time doing your job and side hustle? Is it challenging?
I work on turbans in the evenings and on weekends. The most challenging part of this is that I have to always be on top of the workload and have to impose a military-type discipline and schedule for myself so deadlines are met.
My favourite designer has to be Léon Bakst. He designed the costumes and the sets for the Ballets Russes from the early 1900s up until the 1920s. His work was ahead of its time: colourful and powerful, yet subtle.
How do you stay inspired?
I try to read and listen to podcasts as much as I can, mainly about poetry, philosophy and comedy, both in French and English. Words have always been a great source of inspiration.
If you could travel to a new location, where would it be?
I have never been to America and I dream on going on a year-long trip, with compulsory stops in L.A., Rio, and Cuba.
If you could have dinner with anyone, passed or alive, who would it be?
Martin Luther King. We have the same birthday so it’d be nice to have a joint birthday dinner, just the two of us.
Describe yourself using three words.
“Council estate scum”.
Someone actually called me this one day in a work setting, referring to my social background. I’ve not created or designed anything from these words yet, but something is in prep, it stayed with me. It is important to not let class issues get in the way of your ambition, and to never be ashamed of your background: it makes you who you are. I am very proud to be an educated, bilingual and professionally successful council estate scum!