"Hat-making and wearing hats is primarily about self-expression; working in a way that is both beautiful and communicative. Making the customer part of the process has always been essential; as has the integrity of the materials that I use...
Yvette Jelfs has established herself as one of the top British hat designers making bespoke hats for Royal families, celebrities and private clients; as well as working with some of the best international designers and fashion houses. Present at the all the major equestrian events, from Royal Ascot to Longines Global showjumping , she has been a BBC fashion correspondent and more recently an interlocutor between Chinese Cultural ministers and the UK textiles industry. Overseeing a growing business, for the brand, 2019 will see the launch of an online range, a major international fashion show as well as an increasing footprint across Asia.
‘All of my hats and headpieces are made using old fashioned millinery techniques and using natural materials. Hats are hand-blocked at my Melrose workrooms giving me ultimate design control and quality over every piece. Although some machining is necessary many of the pieces are hand-sewn and I find all of the trimmings myself from a wide range of natural and sustainable sources; friends with exotic birds, gamekeepers, fishing shops. The list is endless. I try and avoid manmade materials as I find they date very quickly and do not have the same character as natural ones.’
Mentored by master hat-makers Fredrick Fox and Graham Smith in the 1980s, Yvette founded her business in Luton, the millinery capital of the UK. She designs and creates bespoke and couture hats for private clients as well as producing hats for exclusive boutiques and wholesalers. In 2001 the company moved production to the Scottish Borders - the heart of the Scottish textiles industry.
...and of course - hat wearing should also be about having fun!"