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Milliners (hat designers) will often work for a variety of different employers such as haute-couture and designer fashion, high street fashion and retail chains. They will often be able to work to their own brief, however in larger high street stores they will often have to follow the brief of a client or head designer. Freelance designers will however be able to have complete control over their designs and costs.
New designs and concepts are created either by hand or using computer-assisted design software, this allows designers to make changed to shapes, styles, colour or design on a virtual model before the hat is produced. The milliner will then source a range of different fabrics, fastenings and embellishments; it is crucial that they create good relationships with buyers and suppliers.
As the work is so intricate the majority is done by hand. It is extremely important that all fashion designers keep their fingers on the pulse of fashion and follow trends as closely as possible. They work with fashion forecasters and attend catwalk shows to predict upcoming trends and adapt designs by high-fashion trendsetters. They also need to know the ins and outs of past styles.