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A hobby that's turned into a business
Charlotte's fascinating hats
Charlotte Rose has been a milliner for nearly 10 years. She started making bridal tiaras, combs and hair pins and now runs her own hat-making business.
It all started with items for brides
After spending some time travelling, Charlotte Rose returned to the UK where she started making the small diamante and crystal pins and tiaras her sister was using for her bridal hair.
She began to get asked for fascinators and headdresses, so decided to train at millinery school in Birmingham. The business just took off and she's been based at Barleylands Craft Village for the last seven years.
Charlotte offers a bespoke service for customers. She has a good artistic eye, which helps when coming up with her designs, patience and a steady hand as everything is hand-sewn.
Some of the smaller pieces can take a couple of hours to make, whilst some of the more elaborate hats can take several days. She's made hats for all types of occasions, from Ladies Day at Ascot, tea parties and of course, weddings.
Charlotte adds the final flourishes
Charlotte starts by getting her clients to try on different styles of hat to find out what suits them. She takes into account what they'll be wearing, in particular colours and patterns and what occasion the hat is for.
"Starting point would be size and shape to what would suit them specifically," says Charlotte, "the design comes in a bit later with all the trimmings and detailing of it."
Once the measurements are taken Charlotte can get started. Several appointments are needed for fittings to make sure the basic bones of the hat fits them before Charlotte can get started on the trimmings.
Her shop has a wide variety of different hats, fascinators and tiaras. Charlotte gets inspiration from other designers, and from customers who often have a good idea of what they'd like.
"Normally, you start working on something and you develop your own ideas out of nowhere," says Charlotte.
Is it a hat or a fascinator?
This year Charlotte has created a number of one-off pieces that have been 40s and 50s inspired to go with tea dresses. In particular she made two pieces for this year's Ladies Day at Ascot which had darker veiling - one was a tear-drop design that came across the side of her face with a big fabric rosette that matched her outfit.
There are several famous faces that Charlotte would love to make a hat for. Top of her list is queen of burlesque, Dita Von Tesse.
"She's got a very quirky manner and quirky style about her and I think she would go for something quite outlandish," says Charlotte.
The Queen also tops her list as do the girls from Girls Aloud and Victoria Beckham.
Charlotte is a firm believer that anyone can wear a hat: "I think a lot of it is just common sense, and having the confidence to wear one."
If you want to contact Charlotte call 01268 272291
last updated: 18/07/2008 at 12:03