For Sydney transplant Victoria Jane, arriving in Melbourne and knowing no one led to discovering a talent for creative headpieces and the launch of her namesake millinery label.
“I’ve always found great pleasure in being creative. Art and photography were my favourite subjects at school. Through-out my time in the corporate world, I would always spend my spare time doodling and dabbling with sewing,” explains Victoria.
“When I moved from Sydney to Melbourne, I didn’t know anyone here and decided to take an evening course at The Melbourne Fashion Institute to meet people and learn something new. I chose Millinery because I love how unique and expressive it is.”
The course led to the launch of the brand in 2017, and then a relaunch in 2021 after a temporary shutdown due to the pandemic.
“After working in the corporate world for over 10 years, I was becoming more and more disconnected with my professional life and I really wanted to do something that I felt excited and passionate about, which is why I decided to take the leap and start Victoria Jane Millinery.
“As with starting anything new, you have to deal with the doubt, and stress of becoming a business owner. Learning how to be all the things your business needs, designer, maker, accountant, marketer, social media manager; it’s a lot to take on but, when you know this is what you really want to do, you find a way to make it work. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t!”
The concept of Victoria’s brand is based on her desire to not feel ‘uncomfortable’ when dressing up.
“In my late 20s early 30s I really struggled with feeling ‘myself’ when I got dressed, and still do to some degree. I’ve used that feeling of being ‘uncomfortable’ and trying to remove that for people as the concept behind my brand,” says Victoria.
“There’s nothing better than when you’re feeling beautiful; and when you aren’t allowing yourself to be tied down or boxed in by trends and opinions. You feel like you, in all your wonderful and unique glory. That’s how I hope people feel when they wear one of my pieces.
Victoria says that she is inspired by the fashions of the 1940s and 1950s when wearing hats and headpieces was de rigueur.
“I love the fashion from the 40s and 50s, the classic Dior silhouette is perfect. I also must include Alexander McQueen, Charles James and Ralph and Russo on the list. They’re usually the ones I find myself falling down a Pinterest rabbit-hole with the most.”
Victoria says that the brand’s aesthetic is alway evolving, since she has a wide range of sources for her inspiration. “I’d say the constant that runs through my designs is that they’re feminine, sophisticated but with an edge.”
In order to be more sustainable, Victoria uses scrap fabrics: “Wherever I can, I’ll use fabric scraps, since most of the headpieces I make are small enough to be covered by scraps, it works out perfectly and stops them going to waste.
“Everything is handmade by me, most designs are only a one-off piece or made to order. It helps being a ‘slow-fashion’ business as I know I can limit the amount of waste produced.”
“Long term, I have international goals for my brand, maybe expanding into other types of accessories. There’s a long list of things that I’d like to achieve, so it’s exciting to see what path I end up going down.”
To shop Victoria Jane Millinery, go to victoriajanemillinery.com.au and follow the brand on Instagram at @victoriajanemillinery.
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