Investing in timeless classics is so important to me and key to how I maintain my own wardrobe. I love when I purchase a piece knowing that I will be wearing it for years to come and that the piece will last as well. Freya Oatway is a Dublin based Irish Designer whose contemporary millinery pieces are beautiful timeless pieces that you will love to wear season after season.
What I enjoy about her work is the style and aesthetic that she has flowing throughout her collections, and we are beyond delighted to be featuring an interview with the designer on Floralesque today.
Freya creates some of the most beautiful millinery pieces that would be so show stopping in any location. It was her the straw boater hats that initially drew my eye to her work. Her pieces are created using the traditional craftsmanship of hand blocking as well as mixing with new millinery techniques which results in fresh yes timeless pieces. It is also important to note that she uses the finest materials to create her works of art, but she maintains an ecological and sustainable approach where possible.
It is no wonder that FAO Millinery is a finalist in the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards 2018, her work is beyond beautiful and something a little different in the best possible way to what is out there at the moment.
What drew you into the world of design and millinery?
I grew up in a very creative household full of art and sculpture. I always had a love for hats and when I was 16 I got an opportunity to intern with Philip Treacy in London. It showed me the range and mastery that is involved in millinery and that it could be a career choice.
Can you please tell us a little about the career journey to create the brand FAO Millinery as you have worked with some world-renowned brands?
After studying at Grafton Academy, I moved to London and interned for a host of designers, Giles Deacon, Mulberry and Roland Mouret. While working on the garments I found my love for embellishments and accessories and I learnt so much about luxury quality and details from those fashion houses.
From there I helped to set up a womenswear brand and moved into the role of production manager. It taught me a whole other side of fashion from designing collections, sales, to the day to day running of a business.
Where do you get the inspiration for your pieces from?
My love is art, texture and fashion. This is combined into every piece I make. It’s a never ending thread of inspiration.
The boat hats are some of my favourite from your collection, can you please tell us more about them?
I wanted to create an elegant hat that you could wear to weddings or races that had more of a modern look about it. No bells and whistles!
The hats are made from straw which is made entirely by hand and without the use of fossil fuels. It has been sourced from individual weavers in the Philippines and we know the payment for the straw goes straight back to the weaving community.
Some of your pieces are very structural in design, do you enjoy the challenge of perhaps a more modern take on millinery?
Absolutely! I want to create unique, wearable sculpture.
Is there a particular textile that you enjoy creating your pieces with or one that is very difficult to work with!
I wouldn’t say I have a favourite textile. I make a range of hats from felt fedoras to straw boaters to sculptural headpieces. Each use very different materials and I love the diversity of that. The sculptural headpieces really let me use anything I want from fabric, beading, lace to wooden sticks. You name it!
Would you have any tips for those hoping to start a career in millinery – something that someone had said to you when you were starting out?
If you love it, it’s not work!
Although hard to choose, what has been your proudest brand moment or highlight to date?
I wouldn’t say I have a proudest moment. I’ve had such a great overall reaction to my collections and the elation people experience wearing my pieces is the best feeling.
Where would you like to see the brand going in the next five years?
I would love to expand into accessories and collaborate with other designers.
Do you have any tips for the customer trying to find the perfect hat for an occasion?
The hat that suits you best is what you feel fabulous in. If you feel confident in it, it will suit you.
And lastly a very important question…. Lyons or Barrys tea? And favourite dipping biscuit?
Lyons tea all the way!…… with dark chocolate digestive biscuits.
A massive thank you to Freya for being featured on Floralesque. I highly, recommend checking out her website to see more of her work – you will not be disappointed! FAO Millinery can also be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Best of luck to Freya at the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards, and I am really looking forward to seeing her pieces on the catwalk!
All images kindly provided for use.
If you enjoyed this interview in the ‘Floralesque Meets’ Series, then you can click here to read more exciting interviews with designers, creators, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs and more – enjoy meeting the makers!