Above: Jayne Elwell wearing a Libertarian Hat. Photograph courtesy of Emily Hannah Photography
Jayne Elwell is based in the North East of England, and creates an array of headwear under the name of The Libertarian.
Specialising in headwear since 2010, Jayne’s artistic background allows her to approach design from a different perspective. Described as an “extraordinary milliner”, and “the Willy Wonka of the hat world”, her designs are wonderfully unusual and elegant.
With an air of British eccentricity, she hopes to stay true to her ‘Libertarian’ name and continue to create for passion rather than commercial dictation. Like jazz The Libertarian’s designs can go anywhere from Ragtime to Funk.
You may have seen Jayne’s designs in Royal Ascot Ladies Day press coverage. The past three years her work has grabbed headlines, gone viral and exploded globally.
Jayne’s designs haves been featured in publications such as The Telegraph, the Times, Company magazine, ITV’s This Morning and Vogue.co.uk, but more importantly on the heads of many a good person.
At present Jayne designs and makes all of the hats headwear that The Libertarian offers. This means that she can often add personal additions to pieces in the ready to wear collection.
Jayne works in limited production so designs are made in small quantities and are sometimes one of a kind. “It is important to me to offer one-off pieces as I know when you find something special, seeing someone else wearing it can taint the experience.”
The Libertarian’s aim is to create designs that can’t be found elsewhere.
The Libertarian’s portfolio of work uses a combination of, conventional, unusual and often absurd materials! Accordingly the work requires a mixture of traditional and not so traditional millinery skills such as hand carving, sculpting, painting and even engraving. This often means that designs are difficult to replicate by others and your finished piece is practically a work of art.
Above: Photographer Vix Tuff Pix, MUA Josephine Birkett, Model: Constance Peach
When studying for her Fine Art Degree, Jayne became increasingly bored with the mass produced, unethical, bad quality products available on the high street. Frustrated with the lack of decent affordable clothing, she began to make her own. “They were edgy, inventive, recycled and in hindsight a bit ridiculous, but I was always complemented on them”. This coincided with new use of the term “Vintage” being applied to clothing and Jayne got a job customising clothes at a new local vintage shop. She turned shirts into dresses, trousers into skirts, and began to realise her love for design.
After graduating Jayne was still frustrated with the cycle of repetition on the high street, and decided to start her own business. The aim was to produce an alternative to the overproduced. Creativity would always be free and never stifled by commerciality, hence the name The Libertarian.
Initially she worked in a variety of fields: Home-wear, clothing and accessories. She had a wonderful time designing and making all sorts of unusual products such as cake stands out of vinyl records, mini bars out of dolls houses and colourful chunky chain necklaces from biro pens. After three years she decided to specialise in one area and in 2010 The Libertarian as you know it today was created.
“Hats are an important part of British heritage and I hope that The Libertarian can help millinery thrive and evolve for a new generation. What other accessory can transform a complete outfit, distinguish a profession and cover a bad hair day?”