Q&a with Gina Foster Millinery
Tell us a little bit about you and your brand…
Gina Foster Millinery specializes in stylish, contemporary occasion-wear with a twist. Our customers range from age 20 to 80 and are stylish and confident. They’re not too traditional and have a certain sense of humour!
What is a typical day like in your job?
I usually wake up at 7.45am and check my emails. Twice a week I go the gym for an hour long personal training session which makes me energised for the rest of the day. I get to the office for 9.30am unless I’m meeting a client in the shop, then I catch up on emails and deal with the business side of things which usually takes me up to lunch time. In the afternoons, I focus on the more creative side of my job such as designing new collections or making bespoke orders. I work in the shop one day a week which I absolutely love because I get to talk directly to my customers. Once the shop closes at 6pm, I usually leave by 6.30pm to try and keep a healthy work/life balance.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I always wanted a creative business that I could start slowly from home and then build up gradually. I’m not very good in the mornings so I knew that floristry wouldn’t be an option! I just so happened to stumble across millinery, and decided to test the waters by doing a short course and fell in love with it immediately. I knew that it was perfect for my skill set.
What’s your favourite piece from your collection and why?
My favourite from the Bridal Collection is Amelie because I think it’s modern and sophisticated with clean lines and would be the sort of thing I would wear if I was the bride. My favourite from the SS14 Collection is the Posey because the veil is ultra-flattering, it can be made in any colour and it’s also off the face so you can kiss all your guests without your hat getting in the way!
Which is the most popular wedding style for brides and for guests?
For brides, the most popular wedding style is Celia, and for guests it’s Clover. Mid-size shapes in neutral colours seem to be popular at the moment and straw is always a favourite material for the summer.
Are there any do’s and don’ts to remember when choosing your bridal headpiece?
Do consider the rest of the outfit; for example, if you’re getting married in a registry office, you might prefer a simple hat like the Evie, but if you’re going for a slightly more romantic look, the Jessica could be a better option. For the modern bride, Grace would be a good choice. The most important thing is never wear something that you don’t feel yourself in.
What’s the inspiration behind your designs?
I wanted to create a collection for the modern bride.
When will you release your next collection and what can we look forward to?
I’ve just finished designing my AW14 Collection which is inspired by the beauty of minerals so expect to see natural forms in jewel-like colours. I’m just starting to think about designing my next bridal collection – watch this space!
What’s the best thing about working with brides?
It’s lovely to be involved in someone’s special day. As people get married all year round, it also means that I’m not constricted to designing seasonal pieces.
Can you tell us what the big wedding trends for 2014 will be?
Hat styles do not tend to be fashion-led so it’s quite often classic shapes with a twist. In recent years, we’ve definitely seen a move away from fascinators towards slightly bigger styles but not the traditional crown and brim.
Spring, summer, autumn or winter wedding – which do you prefer and why?
Personally, I prefer a winter wedding; there’s something so romantic and magical about candlelit evenings and wrapping up warm.
What’s the best wedding you’ve ever been to?
I went to one in America, which was a great weekend full of happy memories. It was lovely to see how they do it differently there; the American guests were certainly amazed by our British hats!
What would be your ideal honeymoon destination if money were no object?
I’d love the best of both worlds, as in the beach and the bush!
You’re attending a wedding – what present from OKA would you give the happy couple?
It would have to be a Faux Shagreen Memory Box so they could fill it with all the memories of their special day.
Gina Foster Millinery specialises in bespoke and ready-to-wear hats, headdresses and fascinators for weddings or occasional wear. Prior to setting up her own business in 2006, Gina previously worked with prestigious milliners Stephen Jones, Noel Stewart and Jess Collet. A central London shop followed in 2010 and Gina’s couture hats have been featured in Vogue Russia, Tatler, Style, Brides and Grazia, to name but a few.