Designer Series

Designer Series: EP 05 – Heather McDowall

We had an amazing talk with Heather McDowall, founder and designer of the millinery label Heather McDowall. Her pieces are all about being confident, fearless and standing out.

When did you start your brand, and how did you transform an idea into a business? What drew you to designing millinery?

I didn’t grow up wanting to be a milliner at all, I guess I kind of just fell into it. Growing up I was pretty much the tomboy at school and sort of fell into fashion design as I have always been a creative person. I used to make dresses for ladies who entered into the Fashion On The Fields competition. Then one day one of the girls asked me to make her a headpiece to wear so I just slapped something together and she ended up winning the best hat and she said to me: ‘Heather, you know you should seriously do something about it’. I grew up in Tazzy and there was absolutely nothing there so I remember I just used to map out for any workshops that were happening anywhere in Australia. I guess it’s when it all started.

Our customers are loving your most recent collection, what is it inspired by?

The latest collection is a collaboration I did with the Melbourne label Elliatt. It’s the second year that I’ve worked with them. I met with their design team at the beginning of the year and we went through their production specs and swatches and through the trends of the season.

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Your headpieces are crafted from a variety of fabrics and materials – what is your favourite material to work with, and way to style it?

I love working with leather the most. It’s a really great material, it’s transitional and doesn’t have to be restricted to wearing just for the spring races, autumn or winter. I also think that leather is cool and the way I style the head pieces is with wire, like the styles I have made that you guys have. I love the pieces to have movement in them, for example if you have a leaf that’s on a headband it has been designed to sit a certain way so everything’s just flows nicely.

What does next 5 year look like for Heather McDowell? Will you be expanding into other markets?

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The next five years are really exciting. I’m releasing the bridal range next year and moving into the overseas markets as well.

What is your favourite motivational/life quote of all time?

My favorite quote and one that I guess is my mantra is: ‘Don’t put off in tomorrow what can be done today’. Tomorrow’s going to bring its own set of hurdles and you never know what could happen, so get it done today and stop being lazy.

What opportunities for your brand do you see in working with GlamCorner?

GlamCorner has been really amazing! I guess for me it’s been able to reach a wider variety of customers. We don’t all have access to a lovely hoard of dresses and hats that we can wear to the races. So it’s been really wonderful to see more people wearing Heather McDowall headpieces.

Watch the full interview video now at

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