Glasgow based milliner Pea Cooper and famous clients like Paloma Faith are leading the charge in the renaissance of the hat.
It isn’t often that a collection of granny’s hats is cited as the inspiration for cutting edge fashion design. But this is the spark that ignited milliner Pea Cooper’s career.
‘It may sound odd but I have always loved anything to do with the head,’ says Cooper. ‘As a child I loved hats and hair because my granny had so many hats.’
It wasn’t, however, until her mother fell ill that Cooper decided to ‘live the dream’ and turn that love of hats into a career.
She had studied graphic design and print and worked in this field for ten years. On her 30th birthday she moved to London and began a course in millinery at art school, studying the history of fashion and hats while learning her craft.
Today, Cooper lives in Paisley and works from Wasps Artists’ studios in Glasgow’s Merchant City.
Cooper’s creations are no strangers to the red carpet and the diversity of her famous clients list – which includes Camilla Parker Bowles’s daughter, Lisa Lopes; the Queen’s cousin, Lady
Helen Taylor; singer Paloma Faith and Romy from indie pop band The xx – is testament to the wide-ranging appeal of her hats.
Most of Cooper’s creations are made as commissions, but she does release two collections each year to showcase her work. In the winter months she fi nds herself focusing on felt hats, many of which are inspired by vintage hat designs from the 1920s through to the 1950s.
In the summer her focus tends to shift to straw hats. She has worked in collaboration with Harris Tweed and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has exclusively revealed to Scottish Field that she will release a special bridal
collection this year.
Cooper is passionate about hats, describing them as ‘the cherry on top of the icing on the cake’.
A hat, she believes, can not only alter the way you look, but more importantly it can also change the way you feel. She firmly believes that the popularity of hats is growing and that people’s perception of hat wearing is changing.
Hats off to that.
This feature was first published in 2014.