Meet the Milliner: An Interview with Alexandra Harper

Based in London and Buckinghamshire, Alexandra Harper is among the most exciting contemporary milliners of her generation. With a keen eye for design and a commitment to sustainability, Harper crafts stunning statement hats, headpieces, and hair accessories that epitomise both elegance and originality. Each piece, meticulously handmade using the finest materials, reflects a fusion of traditional millinery expertise with avant-garde techniques, showcasing Alexandra’s unwavering dedication to craftsmanship and artistic vision.

After honing her skills through formal millinery training in Australia, Alexandra Harper unveiled her eponymous label, Alexandra Harper Millinery London, now based in the UK. Since its establishment, the brand has garnered a global following, adorning the heads of discerning clientele worldwide and earning accolades from renowned stylists. Its creations have graced the pages of prestigious print and digital publications, solidifying its status as a trailblazer in the world of luxury headwear.

An esteemed member of the British Hat Guild, Alexandra Harper continues to push boundaries and redefine the art of millinery, captivating audiences with her distinctively modern yet timeless creations.

In this article, we meet the milliner herself to delve deeper into her fascinating background and the inspiration behind her creativity and artistry.

Can you tell us more about your journey into hat design? What inspired you to pursue this career path?

Many years ago, I went to a millinery class on a whim and loved the craftsmanship and creativity required to make a hat. After a couple of years of learning on the job and developing my profile, I launched my own brand. I was stuck in a corporate career that didn’t fulfil me in any way, so it was an easy choice to launch my label when the opportunity arose.

What training or education did you undertake to become a hat designer?

Back in Australia, I completed headwear and millinery qualifications at TAFE – a tertiary practical college. Plus, lots and lots of practice!

Could you share some highlights from your career so far? What are you most proud of achieving?

Launching my own label (at first in Australia and later in the UK) was certainly a major achievement – making a business work whilst doing something I loved was life-changing. More recently, it has been so exciting to be involved in initiatives like the Royal Ascot Millinery Collective, to develop relationships with some globally respected stockists and to be accepted as a member of the British Hat Guild.

What initially drew you to specialise in hat design over other areas of fashion?

There is such freedom with hat design. You are not limited by material, colour, or style – basically, anything goes. And I love dressing so many different types of clients – different ages, genders, body types, and personalities. Every day is fresh and different!

Have you had any mentors or influencers who have shaped your approach to hat design?

Industry heavyweights like Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy continue to be immense sources of inspiration and aspiration. But also my colleagues and contemporaries – millinery is such a collaborative industry, and our design aesthetics are all so different from each other’s – it’s so motivating and inspiring to see beautiful work and boundary-pushing from fellow designers.

Can you describe your design aesthetic or signature style when it comes to creating hats?

I like to think my designs have an element of timelessness – hats are absolutely an investment item, so it’s important to offer our clients pieces that can be worn for many years or even passed down the generations. I do like to keep things fresh and relevant though, so my styles pair classic and elegant silhouettes with more modern elements, trims and colours. My aesthetic and craftsmanship also set me apart from my competitors – even my simplest designs are produced with the very best materials, unique details and hand-finished techniques, and their overall style and quality are easily identifiable as Alexandra Harper Millinery originals.

How do you approach the process of designing a new hat? Where do you find inspiration?

Often, I start with a material – whether it’s a feather, a bead, or a beautiful piece of fabric. That initial attraction will very often dictate the flow and style of the finished piece. I always do my best to highlight a beautiful fabrication.

Discover Alexandra’s timeless headpieces, from headbands and berets to straw hats and fascinators – there is truly something for every occasion, outfit and season. The recently launched Spring/ Summer 2024 Collection brings together a beautiful range of headpieces designed with the warmer months and summer festivities in mind, whether it’s weddings or major events in the social calendar, such as Royal Ascot. These stunning pieces epitomise Alexandra’s passion for exquisite materials and fabrics as well as her meticulous attention to detail, featuring beautiful designs such as ‘Experience Joy’, silk moiré butterfly bow clips, and ‘Soar Angelic’, a side-beret headpiece adorned with hand-painted hydrangea blossoms.

The SS24 collection also sees the return of Alexandra Harper’s signature straw boater, reincarnated as ‘Place Reframed’. Made from 100% straw and crafted by Alexandra’s artisan partners in Florence, Italy, this classic accessory perfectly embodies the designer’s dedication to craftsmanship. A must-have wardrobe staple, this versatile boater hat will effortlessly see you through countless sun-drenched days to come.

Alexandra also offers a custom design service for those looking to create a truly one-of-a-kind piece for a specific occasion or outfit. To arrange a consultation, contact our team today via email at or by telephone at +44 20 3633 2281.