This pandemic has been a killer for many industries, including the creative industry. For me personally, income became non-existent as of March this year and there’s no sight of it returning in the near future. As well as being a milliner, my husband (Andreas) and I are freelance weddings, events and family photographers. All work vanished when the pandemic hit and shut the world down. Luckily, we had put aside savings for catastrophes like this so we’re doing okay for now. We’re using this time, like most other creatives, to update our websites for when the wheel starts turning for us again. We’re even trying to add to our photography skills by creating photos around our home!
Designer Facemasks – Creating some luxury
Being a milliner in Melbourne right now is no fun. With all racing events cancelled (along with any events which require headwear), nobody is buying millinery. My heart goes out to those milliners who have had to move out of their studios after many years of running a thriving business from there. The closure of one millinery store which really pulled at my heartstrings is The Essential Hat Shop in Armadale. This was where I bought my first bespoke hat a couple of decades ago! My studio is my home so I’m not so badly affected. It’s just sad that nobody wants millinery at the moment and I love to create!
Millinery has bought me so much joy. I had been a hobbyist milliner for so many years until a couple of years ago when I finally decided to launch my millinery label, velvet&tonic. The spur to launch my own label came after a lovely client won the Melbourne Cup Myer Fashions On The Field competition wearing one of my designs. Since launching velvet&tonic, my designs have come in the top 20 of the prestigious Myer Millinery Awards at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. My vibrant pink and black entry placed second runner-up in the same competition last year! Just as our first lockdown was imposed in March, I decided to enter the international HatTalk Hat Making Competition. One hundred and twenty-four milliners from all over the world sent in their entries for this ‘Timeless’ themed competition. My creation, which was inspired by a nebula, was chosen as the winning design. The main prize was a week of residential millinery course at a French Chateaux! This was something I had only dreamed of doing and had now won the opportunity to do so. I’m hoping we’re allowed to travel soon so that I can redeem this amazing prize.
Mandatory Facemasks – you still can have some fun
When face masks became mandatory, I used up my collection of cotton fabrics and whipped up quite a few for family and friends. This little exercise made me realise that it wasn’t something I wanted to do a lot of. Everyone with a sewing machine in Melbourne decided to produce face masks so there were plenty available for purchase. Face masks take time and effort to make. The flooded market meant that it wasn’t going to be a profitable exercise. Then, after seeing so many beautiful fashionistas on social media wearing fancy face masks overseas, I decided that this is what I wanted to do. This lockdown isn’t going to last forever but the virus will linger. We will be allowed to go out and enjoy ourselves like people in other parts of the world eventually. Facemasks will still be a necessary part of our social lives, so why not make them a bit more fun to wear!
Luxury fabrics & facemasks
Using carefully selected fabrics which ooze style and glamour, I created a gorgeous range of luxe face masks. They’re not for medical use or are guaranteed to prevent you from catching the virus (same as most masks out there) but they do provide some protection. These masks are designed to add some glamour, lightness and fun to the serious situation we are living in. Being a lover of fashion, wearing a luxe masks makes this moment in time something more bearable. If I have to wear a mask out at social events, I’m going to wear the stylish ones. There are sparkly masks for the more special occasions and there are pretty masks for everyday wear. More will be added on a regular basis. I’m hoping that these fashion masks bring some joy to those who wear them and to those who see them walk by. Until we’re out of this pandemic, mask up and practice good hygiene and social distancing. Stay positive and safe everyone.