Manchester's Northern Quarter - H'atelier Jen Scott Russell
PUBLISHED: 21:31 03 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:28 20 February 2013
Jen's brimming with ideas in her new hat showroom
WHEN Jen Scott Russell went out for dinner with friends recently, a much younger, attractive man on another table couldnt take his eyes off her. In fact, he was so smitten that he insisted on them having a photograph togetherall because she was wearing a hat!
People always talk to you when youre wearing a hat, says the delightful Jen, owner of trendy Hatelier in Manchesters achingly hip Northern Quarter.
To me a hat is an untapped resource in anybodys wardrobe. Sometimes I see all these lovely creatures on the catwalk or the red carpet and I feel theyve missed somethingit is of course, a hat.
Summer of course, is when most women are thrown into a hat buying panic. Ascot, RHS Tatton Flower Show, weddings, degree ceremonies are all hat-wearing occasions but most designs youd find in the shops arent terribly inspiring.
Oh but hats can transform a personality, insists Rusholme-based Jen.
People come to me and say they couldnt possibly wear such an outrageous design but then as soon as they put it on, theyre a foot taller and more confident. Its wonderful to see.
Hatelier recently moved from tucked away premises in the roof of a Northern Quarter back street to a much grander showroom, on Stevenson Square, where clients can really enjoy the process of having a bespoke hat created for them.
If the hat is for a special occasion, the client is encouraged to bring along the outfit theyll wear on the day perhaps even a dress shed like to colour match and Jen begins to weave her magic.
The hat has got to work for the event as well as make the person feel extra special,
So well sit down and talk it through before we even start on a design.
Given her passion for creating delectable headgear its surprising too, to learn that Jen wasnt always a milliner. She started as a menswear designer at the Royal College of Art and graduated into lecturing and web design but it was a move from London to Manchester that led to a late career change.
I started making hats in my basement at home, she reveals. I did it there but it took up too much space, so thats when I started to look for somewhere to base my business. And I always wanted to be in the Northern Quarter. I love the energy and the vibe and the fact that all the independent, creative businesses tend to be there as well.
Hatelier, 10 Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter M1 1FB
Tel: 0161 236 1643