What is your earliest fashion memory?
Thelma (Speirs): I was about 6 years old and I had these shorts with back pockets and I decided to wear them back-to-front because I thought that front pockets looked more boyish. I wore them with a cowboy hat.
Paul (Bernstock): I was 7 years old and I was a page boy and I wore black patent shoes with a silver buckle.
What are the stages of your creative process?
First Paul and I talk about general ideas and themes….this can be quite vague. Then we think about colour and fabrics and then we start making things and trying out techniques. Then we play around with the form of the hat until it looks and feels right. This can happen quickly or it can take days. Then we edit. There is a look to our work which runs through – we have always included elements of sportswear and utility clothing in the hats and some humour.
How has your life and career changed since you started until now?
We began working together and launched the brand in 1982. Things have changed culturally since then, but our working relationship and our work ethic has actually changed very little. We are now much more experienced at all elements of the business and have become much more confident about editing our collections.
What are the most important moments of your career?
There have been so many highlights. In the early days we really enjoyed meeting and working with the actresses and pop-stars who modelled in our brochures. More recently it has been amazing to work with Peter Jensen (peterjensen.co.uk)…and to be his muse for the ‘Thelma’ collection for A/W 12.
A recent highlight has been meeting Rei Kawakubo, who came to our shop and invited us to present our Bunny Cap installation at DSM Ginza (doverstreetmarket.com) in Tokyo.
What is highest goal you have achieved?
It is yet to come!
What sign do you want to leave in the fashion system?
The legacy we would like to leave is that we introduced a youthfulness and vitality to millinery.
Is there a designer or company that you’d like to collaborate with?
We would like to work with Carven (carven.fr), because we feel they have a similar aesthetic to us. They have a light touch, which is young and spirited.
In your opinion, what is beauty?
Beauty is a thing/person that glows from within and evokes strong emotions.
A woman who represents beauty and style…
Tilda Swinton. We recently met her at Eurostar in Paris and we gave her a Bunny Cap, which she immediately put on and walked on the train wearing it. She was very warm and gracious…as well as looking stylish and beautiful.
Do you have a place where you can find inspiration?
We are inspired by everything around us. We are quite influenced by the 1970’s because that was the decade when we were teenagers and first discovering fashion and popular-culture.
A recurring dream?
Paul (Bernstock): Learning to fly (Like a bird). I am getting quite good at it.
Your first rule to be happy?
Be around people who inspire you and support you…Inspire and support them back……..and create!
A must-have in your wardrobe?
Thelma (Speirs): My 1960’s vintage mink jacket.
Any future projects?
We want to continue coming up with great ideas and implementing them….and continue to enjoy doing it!
234 Brick Lane, London E27EB
tel: 00 44 (0)20 7739 7385
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