Yvette Jelfs has established herself as one of the top British hat designers making bespoke hats for Royal families, celebrities and private clients; as well as working with some of the best international designers and fashion houses. Present at the all the major equestrian events, from Royal Ascot to Longines Global showjumping , she has been a BBC fashion correspondent and more recently an interlocutor between Chinese Cultural ministers and the UK textiles industry. Overseeing a growing business, for the brand, 2019 will see the launch of an online range, a major international fashion show as well as an increasing footprint across Asia

All of my hats and headpieces are made using old fashioned millinery techniques and using natural materials. Hats are hand-blocked at my Melrose workrooms giving me ultimate design control and quality over every piece. Although some machining is necessary many of the pieces are hand-sewn and I find all of the trimmings myself from a wide range of natural and sustainable sources; friends with exotic birds, gamekeepers, fishing shops. The list is endless. I try and avoid man made materials as I find they date very quickly and do not have the same character as natural ones.’ 

Mentored by master hat-makers Fredrick Fox and Graham Smith in the 1980s, Yvette founded her business in Luton, the millinery capital of the UK.  She designs and creates bespoke and couture hats for private clients as well as producing hats for exclusive boutiques and wholesalers. In 2001 the company moved production to the Scottish Borders – the heart of the Scottish textiles industry.

With one of the largest working hat block collections in the UK, Yvette Jelfs has been described as a ‘master milliner’ and an ‘ambassador for hat-making’. Specialising in hand-blocking and hat making, Yvette’s bespoke hats use British-produced textiles, much of them locally sourced in the Scottish Borders with the fabrics moulded by steam and the trimmings made by hand.  The materials used for collection hats and accessories are personally selected to ensure that they meet the highest standards.

All of my hats and headpieces are made using old fashioned millinery techniques, using natural materials. Hats are hand-blocked at my Melrose workrooms – giving me ultimate design control and quality over every piece.

Most of the hats are hand-sewn and I find all of the trimmings myself; from a wide range of natural and sustainable sources. I try and avoid man-made materials as I find they date very quickly and don’t have the same character or beauty as natural ones”.

Yvette has been recognised in the UK and in China for her dedication to preserving traditional craftsmanship, heritage and fashion.  She has always been a strong supporter of small businesses and local makers and the organisations that seek to preserve them, such as the National Trust for Scotland, the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers and she sits on the court for the Incorporation of Bonnetmakers & Dyers of Edinburgh.  As well as supporting young people, new designers, universities and fashion colleges she also runs her own courses; taking students from a wide range of establishments, including the Princes’ Youth Business Trust, to help develop their abilities, pass on her experience and keep the traditional skills alive.

 

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