The Season Hats have exhibited during London Fashion Week (supported by The British Fashion Council Headonism initiative) and Paris Fashion Week and have been featured in luxury press across the world, including Vogue Italia, Vogue India, L’Officiel Thailand, Huf Magazine, Schon, OK! and many more. Designed by award-winning milliner, Paul Stafford, and made by hand in Derry-Londonderry from the highest quality materials, The Season Hats offers casual hats, hairbands, headpieces and our signature folding hats for special occasions.
We’ve been proud to stock The Season Hats for many seasons but with their brand going from strength to strength, we thought it was time to catch up with Paul. So we can show you what’s upcoming in the innovative world of millinery…
It’s been a couple of years since we last spoke, what has been the highlight of your career during the last four seasons?
There’s much to choose from! Being selected for Headonism and now NEWGEN has been a great experience. To exhibit at London Fashion week and have the support of the British Fashion Council and Stephen Jones has been incredible. It was through Headonism that we were visited by HM the Queen during last London Fashion Week… that’s probably the highlight - it’ll never be forgotten!
Meeting the queen must have been an amazing moment! Also – congratulations on being selected for BFC’s latest NewGen. How did you feel being picked and how has this impacted The Seasons Hats brand?
It’s amazing to have been selected as the only milliner within NEWGEN - such an accolade for the quality of the design and construction of the product, and great to have that mark of approval from the British Fashion Council. Stephen Jones, Stephen Webster and the BFC team have been amazing in their support not only in developing collections but also the business as a whole.
Over the years, many celebrities have adorned The Seasons Hats including the likes of Aoibhín Garrihy - do you have favourite celebrity has worn one of your headpieces? Also – who are you still waiting to wear one?
We love it when celebrities wear our pieces but if anything, it’s an even greater honour when people want to wear our pieces when celebrating important moments in their lives, and the greatest pressure is when making pieces for people we know and love ourselves. Having said that, there are a few individuals who we particularly admire – we’d be delighted if Emma Watson or Amal Clooney were to wear our pieces.
Back to the queen Queen – you showed her one of your folding hats, what was her reaction? Did she say anything to you about them?
The Queen’s visit to LFW has been our favourite Fashion Week moment to date. Angela Kelly, the Queen’s wardrobe advisor, had seen our pieces previously and asked me to demonstrate the folding technique which the Queen said was “very clever”; though we mainly spoke about making hats in Northern Ireland as I think that came as something of a surprise.
The folding hats have become signature for The Seasons Hats, who is the primary customer for these hats? Is it those who travel, or is it those who love the uniqueness of the design?
I think that people who appreciate the construction and engineered approach to design are really drawn to the folding hats. The fact that they are so easy to transport and store is a great added bonus.
You are forward thinking and leading the use of new practices and technology in millinery. What’s next for you? What technologies or new concepts are coming down the line?
I think that I’m more practical than conceptual in my design, but for SS19, there are some exciting material developments that I’m looking forward to showcasing at LFW.
What inspires you do keep innovating in millinery?
I just love how things are made. There are always additional refinements to technique and alternative materials to discover. Laser cutting has been available for quite a while now but there is so much more that can be done with it; most of the time, it is used on rigid materials that remain flat when cut, but if it’s used with synthetic textiles, it seals the edge as it cuts so that fraying is reduced or eliminated – without this, we wouldn’t be able to make any of the fabric pieces that we do.
What advice do you give to customers who are picking a headpiece for an important event?
To think about what you’re going to be doing in the headpiece - practical things like if you’re at a wedding, will it get in the way when greeting friends. How long will you be wearing the piece as it has to be comfortable throughout. Most importantly, though, is to find a piece that you’re happy and confident wearing. I think it’s key to buy a piece that you love rather than worrying about face shapes versus brims sizes etc. When you put on a hat that you love, you feel it, your whole posture changes and you exude a new confidence.
Thank-you! It was a privilege to get an update from you.