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Meet a Milliner: Linda Mirembe on London Hat Week 2016

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As London Hat Week (LHW) commences, hat-lovers from across the world are making their way to London for next week's busy schedule of hat-related events.

This year’s LHW follows on from the success of last year’s 21st Century Hat Exhibition. The 2016 LHW Official Exhibition will be held at Coventry University London Campus. Partnering with X Terrace Fashion Platform, Monique Lee Millinery and Racing Fashion Australia's Anna Mott, the exhibition has a particular focus on the influence of art on millinery.

LHW

A selection of hats on display at the London Hat Week Official Exhibition press preview
Photo: Laura Brown

The exhibition curators have considered how the creative industries of art and millinery often collaborate. The milliners displaying works at the exhibition have either been directly inspired by the visual arts, or worked with technical and artistic experts such as sculptors, print designers, stylists, photographers or scientists to create their hats.

The events for LHW may all be based in London, but the event celebrates international talent with the exhibition featuring hats made by milliners from across the world. As it establishes itself as part of London’s arts and fashion events calendar, LHW has grown in scale since last year. Building upon the 21st Century Hat Exhibition’s showcase of work from 36 milliners from 14 countries, this week's exhibition will display 130 hats by 108 milliners from 20 countries.

Linda Mirembe

Linda Mirembe with her hat on display at the London Hat Week Official Exhibition press preview. Photo: Laura Brown

I recently chatted to milliner Linda Mirembe from LinmiR Millinery, whose design caught my eye at the preview of the LHW exhibition on 25th August.

Mirembe told me that she first became interested in millinery after “making tiaras for friends and family”.

“When I was out of work,” Mirembe recalled, “I decided to take a millinery course of lessons”.

Mirembe’s lessons in millinery were with a reputable retired milliner. Following her millinery training, she decided to set up LinmiR Millinery less than five years ago. She thought that “if I didn’t start then I would regret not doing it later in life”.

For her designs, Mirembe finds inspiration from the “creativity” of milliners Stephen Jones, Philip Treacy and Anya Caliendo.

Mirembe describes her style of millinery as “mostly whimsical and arty”, with “different types of concepts and themes for each season”. Equally, as she loves exploring new ideas in her work, Mirembe also loves “experimenting and trying out different types of material”.

“This season I was inspired by the Sea and its creatures”, Mirembe said, referring to the collection from which the exhibited hat is from. “The season before was birds.”

Seeing Mirembe’s hat at the London Hat Week exhibition, I was instantly drawn to the beauty of the piece’s natural imagery and materials. Across the shell that comprises the central form of the headpiece, subtle strands of multiple colours dance as the light hits the hat.

After being contacted directly by X Terrace Fashion Platform, organisers of LHW, Mirembe was “thrilled that the hat...was accepted”.

To anybody considering millinery, Mirembe would say that “if you love creating and have a lot of patience”, then “go for it”.

In addition to the London Hat Week Official Exhibition, there are a huge number of LHW events on including workshops and talks led by industry professionals. If you are at all interested in millinery, this week is the perfect time to learn more about it.

London Hat Week runs from 6 - 12 October. You can find more information about London Hat Week and see the official schedule of events here

To find out more about Linda Mirembe and LinmiR Millinery on the website here

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