ANNA GILDER – Interview

This week, we’re off to the world of hats. We’re joined by Anna Gilder, whose millinery is soon to be showcased at the Great Hat Exhibition.


Hi, Anna – how did you get started making hats?

I started to make hats 3 years ago. My first hat I made was for myself to wear, for my friend’s wedding. I really wanted a nice hat but could not afford a designer hat, and high street hats didn’t interest me in the slightest. So I bought lots of materials, a ready-made base and created my first “masterpiece” (or so I thought). I had so many compliments at the wedding so decided I would like to make more hats. A month later, my husband gave me a masterclass with a well-known milliner as a Valentine’s present. I was so excited, so I started looking for more inspiration and found out about London Hat Week. I met so many people there – they all inspired me to become a milliner . Later during my studies, every milliner tutor I met – have all been sources of inspiration and genuinely nice people. It really is a wonderful community.

What other places do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration comes from different things, sometimes a beautiful place or objects can inspire you to create a hat. I love art so for me a hat is like piece of wearable art.


Tell us all about your most recent collection.

My latest collection, “High Society”, is inspired by imperial Russia and the recent movie about Anna Karenina.

What’s unique about designing hats, compared to other facets of the fashion industry?

As I said, hats are more like an art form rather than just a fashion item. Even the definition of “fascinator” is something people talk about, as an object rather than a piece of clothing.

What are the most common themes or styles in your designs?

In my latest collection the most common themes are butterflies and birds. I love birds, I even have birds on my logo.

Who is your personal favourite designer in the world of millinery?

I have a few favourite milliners: Stephen Jones is like a God of millinery – there is no one like him. Rachel Trevor Morgan – she makes very classy hats with amazingly delicate flowers, and Ian Bennett with the most fascinating feathers. The list goes on and on… I’m only hoping that one day my hats will be in a same league as theirs.

What does ‘fashion’ mean to you?

Fashion, I think… is probably just a form of self-expression through clothing.

What’s next for you?

What next? I don’t know… three years ago I didn’t even have the slightest idea that I would be making hats. And now – my hats feature in exhibitions and at Royal Ascot. On 22-28 of March, during London Hat Week, is the Great Hat Exhibition. I will be participating with my hat “Russian Doll”, please come and see it along with 300 amazing hats from all around the world.

We can’t wait to see it! Lastly, where can we see your collection online?

My new collection will be available online on

Images courtesy of Anna Gilder

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