This month we’re meeting another of our Vintage Norwich Awards winners, Betsy Hatter Millinery.
Betsy Hatter produces custom hats, accessories and fascinators and has long been a Vintage Norwich favourite as her designs are so heavily inspired by the past. She has shown hats on the catwalk at Norwich Fashion Week and recently at the Rockabilly Rave.
With wedding season underway and it being prime hat season, we thought it was timely to catch up with Siofra, pictured below collecting her award earlier this year.
We asked her about what the award meant to her, and the future for Betsy Hatter.
What has winning Best Vintage Style Designer at the Vintage Norwich Awards meant to you?
I was over the moon. Knowing that people took the time to vote for me has really helped build my confidence in my work.
Tell me a bit about Betsy Hatter Millinery and what you do.
I make bespoke hats and hair accessories. My designs are usually inspired by styles from the 1940’s and 50’s, but most of my work is commission based, so I tailor everything to exactly what each client wants.
Can you tell me about how you got started?
I started making little fascinators for myself to go with outfits for nights out. People then started asking me to make them hair accessories to go with their outfits. I started selling them on a little stall at Clutter City under the name Sugar & Hatter with my friend Melanie (No Dice Sugar!) who makes hair flowers and accessories. Melanie decided to have a little break from it, so I started up as Betsy Hatter on my own.
What is your inspiration for new designs?
My inspiration usually comes from the customers. Sometimes they have a very clear idea of what they want so I don’t have to do too much design work. Sometimes I’m just given a vague theme so I do a lot of back ground research and sketching. If I’m making something for myself I tend to look towards nature and myths.
Which hat design is your best seller?
The “Original Betsy” is definitely my best seller. This is a teardrop shaped base covered with felt flowers and a birdcage veil. I think it’s so popular because I can make it in any colour and it’s very comfortable and versatile.
And which is your favourite hat you’ve designed?
At the moment, I have to say it’s the “Elspeth”, which is a simple, summery straw hat. The straw is all hand sewn into a disk so it takes a long time, but I really love the finished hat.
How can people find out more about you and commission a hat or order one of your existing designs?
Do you have any plans for the future of Betsy Hatter Millinery?
I do. I plan on developing a steampunk range of hats. I love the mix of historical and fantasy in the Steampunk genre.