Designer Interview - Bundle MacLaren Millinery
Currently in the midst of designing bespoke hats for the Royal Wedding, Bundle MacLaren has quickly garnered attention for her spectacular designs and eclectic mix of vintage and modern headpieces. The British milliner launched her eponymous label in 2009, largely inspired by her experiences travelling in Africa, and has produced three fabulous collections since then. We asked Bundle to tell us a bit more about how she got started, what influences her exceptional range of designs and what comes next.
What is your unique story?
I grew up in rural Herefordshire – a hidden gem in the great British countryside -proper farming county, rolling hills, prancing lambs etc. After University I spent a year in New York and then a year working and travelling all over East Africa before settling down in London with my husband.
It was actually a Malawian potter called Andrew who inspired and encouraged me to do something creative so upon my return to London I applied to do a millinery course and an apprenticeship to see if I’d be any good. It all went from there really.
What are your inspirations?
My travels in Africa really inspired me to become a designer. People there manage to make such beautiful things out of so little. The pieces in my collections are inspired by so many things – bold clashing colours, shapes and textures in nature, everything and anything can contribute to a piece of my work.
Who do you envision wearing your pieces?
Strong independent women with a sense of humour. I don’t think fashion should take itself too seriously and I have a fun sense of style so a lot of my headpieces are quite tongue in cheek. They all have huge personality and they pass this on to whoever’s wearing them.
What have been your greatest challenges as a designer?
When you’re a one-woman-band you are constantly juggling a lot of balls and having to kick your own arse because there’s no one else to do it for you! Staying on top of budgets, deadlines, web designs, meetings with suppliers, planning your shoots, designing and printing the look books, PR and marketing is really hard work and demands a lot of discipline which doesn’t come naturally to me!
My best tip is a boring administrative one - write everything down – every contact, every idea, every purchase, and make a list every single morning of what you want to achieve that day.
Could you describe your process a little?
I make every piece myself from my home in London. The process is a very organic one and it can start with anything from a brooch I find in a flea market to an interesting print I spot in a fabric store or a sculpture I find interesting in an exhibition. I rarely know what the finished product will look like when I start a design but I know what concepts I want to incorporate into the piece.
What is your favorite piece you've created and why?
is my favourite for its simplicity and versatility - ideal for a touch of vintage or a dash of glamour for any occasion.
I’m also very proud of the Iris
as it has an almost Hollywood glamour feel about it – it’s such a classic aesthetic but with a very contemporary finish. Everyone who tries it on falls madly in love with it. I never tire of seeing the effect a great hat can have on someone’s confidence and attitude.
Which other designer on Boticca do you admire most?
I really admire LeiVanKash
as a designer. Her pieces are so individual, bold and brave and she somehow manages to keep them really affordable too which is something I am very conscious of also.
So what’s next?
I’m busy at the moment making several bespoke hats for the Royal wedding which is very exciting. Some of my hats are hopefully being featured in May’s issue of Vogue so that’s a big deal for any designer and I’ve got a couple of great collaborations over the summer coming up with some big brands, so I’m excited about those.