Introducing the British-Made Hat Collection
Alexandra Fullerton talks to Jade Holland Cooper about the stylish new range and the British entrepreneur’s head for business
The old-school tip of dressing from the shoes up is about to get turned on its head, literally, with the launch of Holland Cooper’s new hat collection. Now every accessory aficionado will be dressing from the hat down as the luxurious British-made brand introduces an array of trilbies and panamas. As I chat to founder Jade Holland Cooper at her Cotswolds home, a fashion shoot for the new campaign is going on around us while gardeners primp the grounds. Holland Cooper is beyond busy. So why launch hats now?
'I’ve done hats in the past but I discovered this factory and thought "wow!"' reveals Jade. 'I wanted to do a collection solely with them. The hats are all done in the traditional way and are all British-made.' Using old-fashioned machinery – some date back 100 years – the heritage of these hats is unrivalled. Authenticity is an overused buzzword, but it’s real with Holland Cooper.
We have a try-on session as the shoot crew buzzes around us. 'The Panama hats are genuine Panama straw,' she says. 'Woven in Ecuador and made in England, they are particularly versatile. You can wear them on the beach with a bikini or with a smart blazer to Henley or the polo.' The fedora is similarly multi-tasking. 'The wool fedora has a cut brim with a more city finish,' Jade explains. 'We want to show it can be worn in the country and the city. The camel fedora with grey ribbon will look chic with a camel coat, a roll neck and skinny jeans.'
Jade muses that 'somebody like Alexa Chung would be my dream hat wearer. Women who are part of the country but part of the fashion, city world too.' Every successful brand has an idea of its customer and Holland Cooper has a very definite vision. 'I always design what I want. As I grew up, the brand grew up.'
What of those who moan they’re not hat people. 'No, wrong!' Jade tells me emphatically. 'There are so many different types of hats, there will be a hat that suits you and I genuinely believe these look good on most people. The fedoras make everyone's jaw and cheekbones look really sharp!' Who doesn’t want that?
As Jade points out, with the launch of hats, Holland Cooper now does a complete outfit. 'The only thing missing is boots.' Which begs the question, what’s next? Will it be boots, I prompt? 'Probably,' Jade admits, 'there is always something going on…'
This is the understatement of the century. As I leave Jade to negotiate the logistics of two store openings – one in Ireland and one in Scotland (in the same week) – I realise how right she is; there is always something going on with Holland Cooper.
Alexandra Fullerton is fashion director at large at Glamour UK