Louise Pocock has developed her passion and creative flair for millinery following an extensive career in retail fashion, workwear design and her arts & crafts background.
Every hat is hand blocked and hand stitched. Louise is known for her attention to detail along with her love for colour and contemporary twists on vintage styles for both men and women.
I’m passionate about hats; in fact not a day goes by when I am not thinking about designing, wearing them or picturing what would look good on perfect strangers. There is something magical about a hat, how it can make you feel but also how you can be perceived by others. Wearing one can make you flirtatious, cheeky, and confident, it can make you ooze elegance and it can be an extension to your personality – and the final accessory...
My great-grandfather was a music hall songwriter and my great uncle was a burlesque comedy performer. I listen to their crackling old 78’s rotate around my record player. They both wore trilby’s (titfa’s as my grandfather always referred to them) and I imagine touring the circuit with them, socialising with them in the Smokey bars, meeting other colourful cockney characters. My mind was fuelled as a child by the stories my grandfather used to recite. Wearing a hat was always an important factor in my imaginary world.
I studied fashion and textiles but even then yearned to be a milliner. I did not enjoy flat pattern cutting but enjoyed draping and pinning fabrics on to the tailor’s dummy, then taking a pattern from the 3-dimensional form. I had the patience for intricate fiddly hand sewing, beadwork and always focused on attention to detail. In those days millinery was a closely guarded secret and the only way to be trained as a milliner was to become an apprentice, I found work experience with a Hackney based milliner with an old fashioned shop who had set up their business after discovering a treasure trove of old hat blocks in a skip. I gained a level 2, level 3 then level 3 City & Guilds Advanced Diploma in Millinery in 2007, there was now no other path I wanted to walk, I was hooked.
I lead my own millinery school teaching people City & Guilds professional qualifications as well as more informal daily hat making workshops and Hen Parties.
I am a member of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen and my work has led me to have been featured in various forms of media such as the Guardian, Cotswold Life, Good Housekeeping and the BBC.
Everyone can wear a hat, it is how you wear it and carry yourself which determines how you are perceived. All the people I have met who have bought one of my hats have left with a smile their face and a spring in their step. I still enjoy the process of making a hat, it never tires or bores me and what excites me the most is the way a hat can develop when there are no pre-conceived ideas, designs or planning, Just a felt hood and a selection of wooden blocks at my disposal. No two of my creations are the same; that is the beauty of bespoke handmade millinery.
I’ve made hats for people from all walks of life, actors, musicians, for commercials on TV but mostly for those people who just enjoy the fun aspect of wearing a hat, without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I enjoy best.