Thursday, 31 March 2011

Designer Of The Day: Alex Hardman

Designer Bio:
My name is Alex Hardman, I’m 26 years old, British/French Milliner based in Surrey, UK. From birth I have been very fortunate to travel with my family across the world, this has shaped me in both character and as a designer. I have a great curiosity with different cultures, traditions and especially clothing and accessories.
From the age of 9 I attended boarding school; this experience made me very independent and consequently has shaped my professional career. Once completing an HNC in millinery design, I decided to go solo, live the dream and start up my own company, Velvet Blush Ltd. This was formed in 2008, and I have continuously been working towards to becoming an established designer. As well as creating my own collections, I also make bespoke pieces for individual clients. The
company ethos is to create stunning pieces, which are made from quality materials and most importantly are unique and stand apart from the crowd.

1. What inspired you to get into accessories design?
From an early age I would dream of being a clothing designer, I discovered millinery on my pursuit of becoming a designer at London College of Fashion and became fascinated with the whole concept. I also had an amazing tutor, her talent and passion inspired me to pursue this new path. I do still design and make my own clothes, but millinery has definitely taken over my life.

2. Where did you go to school and what was your major?
The foundation of my education was in classic British boarding schools, my fashion education started at the London College of Fashion doing a degree, Costume Design for Theatre. The course was amazing, and where I discovered millinery but the bug bit me, and I was then set on becoming a milliner, so after the first year, I transferred over to Kensington and Chelsea College. Here I continued to study for 3 years and completed an HNC in millinery design.

3. Describe your philosophy about fashion?
Wear what you love. If a garment or accessory provokes an emotion then it’s worth the cost. I do think that knowing how to work with your body shape, and having your own style are key, but that’s the beauty with a hat. It is the final part of an outfit, the icing on a cake.

4. What words of wisdom can you give to aspiring designers?
When a door closes, a window opens.

5. Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration for a collection can occur at any time, it’s difficult to pin point where the design process starts and ends for each collection, I’m continuously thinking about potential shapes, designs and then evolving potential concepts. Previous collections have stemmed from life experiences, art, music, people, and nature.

6. What is a typical day for an accessories designer like yourself?
There are no two days the same, though I do try to spend as much time in the studio as possible. Depending on which stage I am at with a collection, I may be out sourcing materials, or researching potential ideas. Towards the end of the process requires a photo shoot, which are long days, and require strategic planning but it's so exciting and satisfying to see the final result. And of course, there are days dedicated to promoting my designs and networking, at events like Royal Ascot and trade shows, so there never is a dull day.

7. Which accessories designers have been important points of reference
for you?

Elsa Schiaparelli, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Philip Treacy, Stephen Jones

8. If you had the opportunity to design an accessory for one person who
would it be?

Audrey Tautou

9. Can you tell me about your collection?
The first piece, Aphrodite, is one of my earlier pieces, from a collection based on Greek mythology; I made 5 pieces each representing a different character. The other two pieces, Forbidden Fruit and Guarded Greed are inspired from the seven deadly sins. I think that the names of the pieces give enough about the idea without taking away all the mystery, there will be some more pieces coming soon, inspired by this

10. Where can we find your collection?At the moment pieces can be bought directly from me, I have all the contact information on the website. I am currently looking into different avenues to sell my products, so once this is established the information will be posted. To view more pieces I have created visit  and do not hesitate to contact me with any enquiries.
Photography: Lisa Miles, Model: Lauren Worby, MUA: Louise Walsh