"What on earth am I going to wear?!". After weeks of brain storming style ideas, searching online and trawling the shops, I still hadn't found an outfit for the 2013 Epsom Ladies Day, and it was now just three days away! Sure enough, my wardrobe was packed with hidden vintage treasures, and so I opted for one of my old faithfuls - a classic 1940's neutral dress, this one had never let me down. But still, I needed something to wear on my head. In my mind, I knew what it was that I wanted to wear, it was just that no-one had designed it...well, no-one except me - but only in my mind. I was fed up with the same old designs in the department stores; I felt they lacked character and all looked so, uniformed.

 Then it occurred to me, 'Rachel, why don't you make your own headpiece for the races?!'. It seemed a little far fetched at first, but it was now my only option, seeing as the Oaks was just days away. I'd never made a hat before, but I'd made a home-made birthday card, and this didn't seem like the kind of thing I'd want to wear on my head for all to see. But, I had done a spot of sewing at college and University, and knew a thing or two about Fashion from my years of studying. So I hopped to it - I loved shopping for the vintage fabrics, using old scarfs and broaches, wondering what stories lay behind them. I mixed colours and textures, and let my hands do what my mind saw. I loved the idea of upcycling; re-creating the old into the new, and resuscitating new life into those once forgotten fabrics, or to those that had only been sentenced to a life in a charity shop. And you'll see that a lot in my work, in so many wonderful yet subtle ways.

   And so, three days later my crafted fascinator was resurrected into life! I wasn't too sure about it at first, and as we arrived at ladies Day I noticed a lot of people looking. "Is it that bad, oh gosh?". I then noticed the camera men hovering; they wanted my photo!? They all loved the hat! It wasn't long after that I was selected to be part of the top 5 best dressed, and that day I appeared on the Channel 4 races - even in the advert! My photo appeared in several different newspapers, including The Daily Mail, The Metro and The Guardian. I was stunned. It was definitely the start of something new. 

  Since then I continued to make my own hats and fascinators, and enrolled myself on a millinery course at the London College of Fashion. And here I am, wanting to make headwear for those, who like myself, want to wear something classic, but just that little bit different. If you're after a custom design to go with a specific outfit, then head on over to the Bespoke section of my website - but first, do take look at my Collection to see if anything catches your eye.

 I look forward to hearing from you,

Rachel Hanson, the milliner.