We’re very fortunate at Country Clothing to have our very own talented in-house milliner making hats for our clients. Her Surrey workshop is based within our store in Ewell.
Jessica Rea’s career in millinery has been a natural progression. Starting first with friends and families, moving quickly on to the demands of exclusive clients. What started as a hobby has now become a very successful career.
Jessica Rea makes hats for all year round; winter and summer racing included. Being directly on the door step to The Epsom Downs Race Course, Jessica Rea is fast becoming Surrey and London’s ‘Go to Milliner’.
We bribed her with tea and got her to talk about what inspires her, the trends for this year and what’s next for this bright and talented young lady.
Why hats, where did this interest and talent come from?
I was interested in hats from an very early age. I was brought up by my parents very close to Epsom Downs where I would regularly see all the ladies dressed head-to-toe in their glamorous outfits and the gentlemen in their top-hats and tails, my parents included.
These memories have really stuck in my mind. But I wanted to be able to offer exquisite head pieces to ladies at a reasonable prices. It’s what spurred me on to study the art of Millinery with some of the most skilled and prestigious Milliners in the UK.
What trends and colours can we expect to see at the races in 2016?
I personally love this years fashion, its all about block colouring. Don’t be afraid to mix and match the colours up, using contrasting colours to really make a statement is key this summer. Lime Greens, yellows, greys and royal blues are my personal favourite. Check out the range of dresses I will be stocking this summer for style inspiration, I even have a range of shoes that can be hand dyed to match your outfit.
If you could create a hat for anyone; dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I have a huge list of people I would love to make hats for… But I’d really love to make a hat for Paloma Faith, I love her quirky style and her confidence she has when she’s wearing a hat. That’s just how hats should be worn.
What’s your favourite hat of all time, be it from your collection or someone else’?
I don’t have a personal favourite of all times as that would be far to hard to choose from. I take a lot of my inspiration from the 1940/1950 as this is when the hat fashion was at its very best. Such beautifully classic shapes, simple lines and structure which means you can really go to town with the trimmings to get that ‘wow’ factor.
What’s your favourite to create; Jessica Rea bespoke pieces or your everyday collection?
I love making bespoke pieces for clients. To be able to create something they feel proud wearing is an indescribable feeling. A hat or head piece can really complete the outfit at an event so it’s so important that its right for that individual person. You can tell when someone feels confident and comfortable in the right hat as there posture and body language changes.
If you could keep one of your hats forever, which piece would it be and why?
My favourite hat for me has to be the very first hat I ever made, I still to this day have it now on display. Looking at it makes me realise how far I have come not only as a milliner but also a designer. It’s not my finest bit of work but it makes me proud. It was the most impractical hat I have ever made, I soon learnt by those mistakes!
Jessica Rea Millinery sits within the beautiful Country Clothing Store in Ewell. A place where you can go to get everything for the countryside, be it walking boots, tweed, waterproofs or leisure wear. Visit her website now>>