Stephen Jones RDI and Whitley Academy

Britain’s biggest name in hat design, milliner Stephen Jones RDI, has designed hats for international fashion collections as well as the likes of Princess Diana, Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Stephen set a project to sixth form art & design students at the RSA Whitley Academy in Coventry, challenging them in a video to design a hat that represented each student’s character and interests. This was an exercise in building self-confidence and self-esteem as well as developing design skills.

The project was launched in advance of Stephen’s visit to allow the students a few weeks to research and begin the design process. During his first day working with the group, Stephen gave an inspiring and entertaining presentation about his education and career. He then spent time with the students, giving each one of them a crit on their hats and advising them how to develop and test their ideas.  At Stephen’s follow-up visit, during which he helped the students to complete and fit their hats, the finished designs were displayed at a catwalk event in the school hall.

Commenting on the project, Stephen Jones said: “It was an honour and real adventure for me visiting and setting a project for the RSA Whitley Academy. The students responded to the challenge of interpreting themselves in a hat with studious application and total originality. The completed hats and headdresses were self-expressive art-pieces and the final fashion show spectacular. Bravo!”

Related project: Royal Designers for Industry (RDI)