Hats off to the Best of British Design in Stockport!

Liberacion’ by Francisco Rico being showcased on the Making Headway catwalk. ©Stockport Council

STOCKPORT has retained its tradition for hatting by putting some of the designs of Britain’s emerging fashion talent on show. 

The Paris style fashion show, Making Headway, featured a collection of 30 couture hats, created by 13 of the UK’s best emerging millinery talents. was showcased  at St. Mary’s Church at weekend. While this weekend (May 24) the hats will go on display at the town’s Hat Works


The recently restored church was transformed with a jaw-dropping architectural installation created by students from the Manchester School of Architecture supported by the Office for Subversive Architecture.

The installation featured 10,000 paper hats suspended from an enormous fishing net which provided a stunning backdrop for the show.

An audience of 500 people enjoyed a spectacle which could be said to rival the runways of London, Milan or Paris.

Participating milliners included: Beth Simpson of Lady Go Red, Francisco Rico, Jane Bailey, Marina Walger, Victoria Shearing, Marie Thornton, Sue Wood, Margaret Woodliff-Wright, Marie Halewood, Melanie Lewiston, Kate Jones, Sue Carter and Rhian Kempadoo.

Ms Woodliff-Wright said: “’Making Headway’ provided an opportunity to combine creative and professional experiences.  The programme has been instrumental in creating a melting pot of ideas and opportunities, developing, deepening and enhancing our millinery expertise”.

Laura Sanderson, a senior lecturer at Manchester School of Architecture, said: “Architecture is not something which should only be created in the studio; it is a live thing to be celebrated in the city. To have the opportunity to work with such an exciting client and within such a beautiful building is an opportunity for the students involved to create real projects for real people.”

The milliners were selected through open competition which enabled anyone to take part in a professional development programme resulting in the creation of two new designer collections of hats.

An exhibition featuring all of the hats opens this Saturday at the Hat Works, with an opportunity to buy a specially designed one off creation.