Christie Murray shares her first experience at Fashions on the Field

Q. How long have you been a milliner?

A. “One year officially, I graduated from TAFE last December. I studied Millinery for 4 years at TAFE in Brisbane and in Melbourne at the Melbourne School of Fashion.”


Q. Why did you decide to become a milliner? 

A. “I love art but I also love working with people. Millinery allows me to do both! But I’ve always been innately drawn towards Millinery specifically, I still find it quite hard to explain.”


Q. What do you like best about being a milliner?

A. “What I love about Millinery is not only getting lost in the design. It’s the way that different textures and fabrics work together. It’s working with my hands, and with people. It’s that feeling that you get when you have slaved away for 30+ hours on a piece and then you achieve the perfect 3 dimensional balance. And that overwhelming sense of achievement when your client and headpiece become one. Millinery is so much a part of my being now that every headpiece is an extension of myself.”


Q. Is this the first time you have entered one of your hats into Fashions on the Field? 

A. You don’t actually ‘enter’ hats in to Fashions on the Field per say.  A lot of my clients are Fashions on the Field enthusiasts and order bespoke headpieces through my service to then enter the competitions.  This year Myer invited me to enter their National Millinery award which is judged on Crown Oaks Day at Flemington. This is the first year that I was invited to enter the award – and being my first year out as a fully qualified Milliner, I was very excited!”


Q. What was your inspiration for the hat you entered in the Millinery Award? 

Succulents is a theme that I’ve taken throughout my Couture collection this Spring. I love the surrealism that they embody, and I wanted my Millinery Award piece to be the pinnacle of my collection. The headpiece itself was based on a Spiral Aloe succulent and captured the essence of the fibonnaci sequence or the ‘golden spiral’ in nature. Each of the 5 concentric rings had to be perfect to achieve the shape, and it was an incredibly technical pattern to deconstruct and make.


Q. How long did it take you to make the hat you entered?

A. “I lost count! Hundreds of hours, easily.”


Q. What was biggest challenge when creating this hat?

A. “Everything about it was a challenge! Keeping the weight low, standing the shape up on a base piece on the head, the pattern itself, trying to make rough material conform in to something that was cleaner for each leaf, the wire work. It certainly pushed me!”


Q. How did the CEA Fashion Incubator help you with your Myer Millinery Award entry?

A. “The Fashion Incubator was incredibly supportive. I was able to use our design space in to the wee hours of the morning and they helped me to design an outfit for my model to perfectly match the headpiece.”


Q. Will you enter the Myer Millinery Award again next year?

“Absolutely. It’s a chance to really display your unique skill set as a Milliner.”


Q. How long have you been a client of the CEA Fashion Incubator? How has joining the Fashion Incubator changed the way you do business?

A. “I’ve been a client since April 2013. And it’s absolutely changed the way that I do Business. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for their mentoring, support and business coaching. I’ve achieved so much in my start-up year, much of which is a result of the guidance I’ve received through the Fashion Incubator.”


Q. What are your future plans for Christie Millinery?

A. “I have big plans to shake up and revolutionise my industry, particularly in the digital space.  I want to increase public awareness of Millinery and make it more accessible to people throughout Australia. I plan on expanding in to the American market over the coming years.”


Find out more about Christie Millinery

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