Hats Off to a Fashionable Career in Millinery

Kangan Institute Blog Hats Off to a Fashionable Career in Millinery

Date: 2 December 2016
Hats Off to a Fashionable Career in Millinery


Throughout history, milliners have lent their expertise and services to making and selling top hats, cocktail hats and headwear for various occasions.

From the spring racing carnival to a day out at the beach, the millinery industry has experienced a dramatic incline in recent years. Milliners are creative individuals that appreciate both art and fashion, fusing these passions into a lucrative career in design.

Why become a milliner?

As a milliner, you have the option of personalising your design process. Some rely on old school methods, preferring a pen and paper to conceptualise their creations. Others are well versed in contemporary computer programs, creating technical models that are sent off for production.

Not only do milliners have creative minds, but they also have an ample understanding of complex spatial reasoning and three-dimensional design. They are experts in analysing fabric, trims and colours, as well as being up to date with the latest fashion trends.

In either respect, the millinery design process can be completed for mass production, or at the bespoke commission of one private client. This is all up to the specifications and desires of you as an individual.

Characteristics for a successful career in millinery

With this being said, not everyone is cut out for a career in millinery. In addition to creativity and vision, one must have the ability to network and build a relationship with their clients. A successful milliner should possess the following qualities:

  • Passion for the industry
  • Keen eye for design
  • Knowledgeable about fabrics, trims and materials
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Manual dexterity
  • Business savvy
  • Fluent in the technical jargon
  • Communication skills
Hats Off to a Fashionable Career in Millinery


Milliner’s work environment

Typically, milliners work in studios, shops and manufacturing sites. Depending on the type of employment you obtain (private, bespoke, mass production, fashion house), the manufacturing is typically completed in a shop. In some circumstances, milliners may travel to various clients, where he or she can take individual measurements.

There are a variety of markets that exist for self-employed milliners, meaning there are a number of avenues in which you could take. For example, exclusive high-end businesses and designer fashion houses have tapped into the more exclusive clientele. This may mean a lot of travelling and networking, working hard to ensure that your reputation is known about town.

You may also find yourself working for a theatre company or headwear manufacturer, working to create individual creations for a one-off event or production. Individuals who work for larger companies can also be employed in a factory type environment, utilising their sewing skills to create large quantities of product.

Getting certified

When considering a career in millinery, it is important to have talent and experience. Above all, you should have a passion for the industry; however many who choose to advance in the field should pursue some sort of formal training.

Many have an initial knack for hat design, accompanied by a love of fashion and sewing. However, to master couture millinery and trims, a TAFE course can be a great way to gain respectable employment.

If you are wondering how to become a milliner, Kangan Institute has quickly gained a reputation as a training provider of choice. Our graduates are consistently achieving high standards in local and national-level competitions. Here you can become an expert in costing, design, construction techniques, advanced patternmaking marketing and merchandising.

With these skills under your belt, you can go on to be employed as a millinery technician, or perhaps you prefer to be your own boss and express your passion freely. The possibilities are endless.