Katherine Lee - The Hatmaker from Hale

Katherine Lee from Hale is aiming to get ahead with hats, as Paul Mackenzie reports

When work gets busy and she needs a break, Katherine Lee likes nothing more than to open the door of her studio and step into the pool. ‘It’s brilliant to be able to relax with a few lengths, clear the mind, and then get back to it,’ she said.

Katherine launched her millinery business last year and is based in the back room of the Bowdon home of her uncle, Lord Lee of Trafford.From there the 28-year-old creates hats for all occasions and she added: ‘I used to swim in the pool here when I was a child and it is a bit weird to be back here now, working.

‘I get different ideas from just walking round the garden and looking at flowers and the view. It’s ideal for me, really. I live in Hale now but we used to live just up the road so we were very close. I used to visit here a lot as a child and it has been such a massive help to me at this stage of my career.’

After completing a degree in embroidery and textiles at Loughborough University, Katherine worked on catwalk creations for an Italian fashion house and had a spell with a fashion label in the UK before launching her own business.

‘Hat making uses my skills with embroidery and textiles and is something I can create from start to finish. It’s incredibly satisfying and every one I make can be different, rather than just doing one or two styles each season.

‘Most of the customers want a hat to go with a certain outfit or for a specific occasion such as a wedding, bah mitzvah or the races but I also do show pieces for the catwalk.’

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Photographs on the wall of her studio show her creations for Milan Fashion Week and for designer David Longshaw, but fashion is nothing new to Katherine - her mum ran a women’s clothes shop for years and Katherine added: ‘I would eventually like to have my own shop around here.

‘I have built up my skills and my knowledge gradually and I have a growing number of customers, mostly in this area, but also some further afield. Things have gone very well so far and I am thoroughly enjoying it.’