Lai Symes recently moved home where she is setting up a new workroom in Eastbourne on the south coast.
The QEST scholarship enabled Lai to do for a living what she has always wanted to do: Create. After completing a degree in languages followed by a PGCE she decided to retrain in millinery with the best teacher she could find, Rose Cory. The QEST scholarship allowed her to focus solely on her millinery training, commuting at the time between Suffolk and London for classes. It also enabled her to expand on her skills and start up her own business.
Lai makes bespoke hats for customers using couture methods and the finest materials. Over the years she has made hats for Clare Balding and done referral work for Catherine Walker. Her hats also sold very successfully at Fortnum and Mason in 2013. Lai is currently working on a small collection of winter hats to present to Holland and Holland. She has just recently returned from a trip to the Far East which she feels was fantastic design inspiration!