Lucy Barlow

2019 QEST Garfield Weston Foundation Scholar - Millinery
East Sussex

A magnificent straw beret that Philip Somerville brought back from Paris while Lucy was an apprentice in his Bond Street atelier inspired her love of stitched straw that has endured for almost four decades.

Since 1990, Lucy has made hats on a motorised 1870s stitch straw machine, including collections for Harvey Nichols and Saks Fifth Avenue. Feeling perfectly placed to bridge old traditions and new possibilities, Lucy began an MA in Millinery at the Royal College of Art, which she is completing with a QEST Garfield Weston Scholarship.

My dissertation research has revealed that I am one of the last stitch straw artisans in the UK, so I feel a responsibility to share my skills. The MA will provide academic validation and I am developing braids in sustainable materials for a men’s collection to help regenerate the craft.