Rachael Clunie

2021 QEST Scholar - Millinery
East Sussex

Brighton based hat designer and milliner Rachael has a love of the unusual and pushing boundaries in her designs. She creates both contemporary styled couture hats as well as more surprising creations, such as her SS2019 collection which was made from locally sourced seaweed and beach litter. She runs her own company Avant Garde Couture, which she established in 2017. 

QEST funding will enable Rachael to travel to France and train in traditional model millinery with master milliner Dillon Wallwork. She will learn about advanced blocking techniques, techniques used for making accessories in straw, silk & sinamay, fabric covering of crowns, pillboxes and headpieces, the construction of large brims and techniques used for fabric-covered couture edges. She will also spend time with Israeli milliner, Maor Zabar, who specialises in using modern millinery techniques to create a diverse, theatrical aesthetic, learning how to incorporate wild silk into her work. 

Hats are that final piece of an ensemble; whether it’s a couture piece or an ArtWear statement. I take inspiration from anything and everything, working organically on each piece which allows every hat to become what it wants rather than what I want.