Alan White and Barry Moss are the creators behind Alan White Millinery. After stumbling upon their website, I instantly gravitated towards their unique designs and approach on headpieces. Continue reading to learn more about Alan White Millinery.
When was Hats Etc. founded?
Hats-Etc is the name of our website. Our company name is Alan White Millinery. For Alan White and partner Barry Moss, Alan White Millinery marks the launch of a second career. Alan has worked as a graphic designer for 25+ years and Barry has worked in interiors and soft furnishings. Alan trained in millinery at the London College of Fashion in the late 1980s and has sold hats to private clients for Ascot, weddings and other social functions. He has exhibited at London Fashion Week, sold collections to Barney’s New York and while living in Japan he exhibited in Tokyo. He has also worked as a guest lecturer at the Fashion Department at Musashino Art University in Tokyo and at the fashion department at Birmingham Polytechnic. After a long break travelling and working his way around the world, Alan now wants to concentrate on millinery. After meeting Barry (a Canadian) in Washington DC they moved to the UK and have been gradually building up the millinery business over the past 5 years.
I have never seen headpieces and hats such as yours. Do you find your company dominates this market?
At present we are building up the company and trying to get our name known in the marketplace here in the UK. Primarily we are selling in Canada and interest seems to be growing in the US. We have been connecting with photographers and stylists who are planning on using our work in photo shoots for editorial fashion spreads. Our work is currently being used in the filming of a cable network pilot series in Philadelphia, and we have plans to work with a couple of clothes designers to provide hats and headpieces for their collections.
Tell me a bit about each item/service you offer on your website.
We custom make all our hats and produce lines of couture millinery, miniatures and headpieces. In addition we create hats for brides, bridesmaids, Mothers of the Bride, and Mothers of the Groom. We have recently introduced a “ready-to-wear” range of hats available through our website. With all the ranges we design, we work closely with our clients on material selection, colour, and trimming, taking into account where and when they are going to be wearing the piece. All our ranges can be made in a wide variety of colours which can be chosen from the colour palette accessible from the “Ordering” section on our website.
Headpieces - The headpieces are designed for ease of wear – mostly set on headbands or skull caps. They are suitable for all ages and can be worn for day-wear or evening-wear.
Ready-to-Wear – The ready-to-wear range is a selection of hats, blocked to our specification, in contemporary styles which we hand-finish with fine feathers, silks and sinamay.
Couture – We offer a bespoke service where we will co-ordinate colours and fabrics to match a client’s outfit, made-to-measure.
Miniatures – The miniatures range or cocktail hats are for those clients who feel slightly intimidated by the more conventional larger brimmed hat. Highly suitable for any occasion from day-wear to evening-wear for gallery openings or evening cocktail parties.
Bridal - The bridal range is for the modern bride who tend not to want to wear the conventional veil/train. These are set on headbands or skull caps for ease of wear and are an alternative to the “tiara”.
Casual – We design and make an ever-growing range of casual hats for summer and winter. We are currently working on this side of our business, developing a wide selection of hats ranging from cloches and berets to 60s inspired peaked caps which we are very excited about.
Events We were invited last year by our outlet in Canada to provide co-ordinating headpieces and hats for a charity fashion show in aid of Canadian Breast Cancer. We have also been asked to do “clinics” on hats and how to wear them.
What do you love most about designing?
Our designs are inspired by the “age of elegance” from the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s through the work of couture designers like Dior, Givenchy, Balenciaga and Schiaparelli and the films of the same period, especially Bette Davis (“Now Voyager ” is a particular favourite of mine), Audrey Hepburn (Funny Face, and all the films she made with costumes from Givenchy), Katherine Hepburn (“Woman of the Year”), and many others too numerous to mention!! The fashion of this period flattered and complimented the female figure and accessories were seen as a very important element finishing off any outfit.
Our collections pay hommage to this period, but we introduce a modern twist by trimming and finishing using modern materials (florals, feathers, silk, etc.) We use strong colours and rich textures (especially with the silk) as well as the classics. Our collection incorporates everything from wide-brimmed picture hats to cocktail hats. We strongly believe every woman can wear a hat, even though many believe they can’t – it’s all a case of balance.
What is your favorite piece from your current collection?
For Alan, my favourite at the moment is a toss-up between 5, 6 & 7 in the couture section. I love the play of the different textures with silk, feathers and veiling (5 & 7) and number 6 because it’s outrageous!
For Barry, his favourite at the moment is 2 & 3 in the miniatures section for very different reasons. No 3 for the simplicity of it – it’s simple elegance and compliments anyone who wears it, and No 2 because it’s sassy and fun!!
What do you have in store for the upcoming collection?
We are developing the casual range and constantly design new hats for all the other categories in our collection – it’s definitely an on-going process. We are having fun designing hats inspired by the 40s, 50s and 60s by using modern fabrics and other materials for the contemporary woman.
What is the popularity of your statement headpieces in the UK? What is the US missing out on?
We think the popularity of our headpieces is based on their unique character. They are not just a clump of feathers on a comb. They tend to be more sculptural and use various textures combined. They’re not mass-produced cookie-cutter cut-outs. Every piece we make is unique. They’re made by hand and will always have slight variations which makes them more like wearable art.
With the return of less casual fashion, the chance to wear something unique that makes a statement about it’s wearer without running the risk of bumping into several other people wearing the same thing, is what we provide to our customers worldwide. With the many events in the US which enable women to dress formally, the opportunity to really stand out in the crowd enables us to design head-wear of all kinds that is both elegant and unique. We look forward to bringing our hats to a wide audience in the US soon.
For more information visit: www.hats-etc.com