Whether it's looking at a snakeskin printed silk bonnet with extended ear-muffs or a reversible, velvet cowboy with a nylon rim, the aesthetic of Hurtence headgear is near impossible to pinpoint. With each piece being a unique joining of up-cycled materials, hand-stitching and one-off patterns, the process feels as exciting as the result.
Beginning with just headgear, designer Maddy Thornalley is also branching the cute and crafty aesthetic into bags, trinkets and more. In light of Hurtence's designs now being stocked at Belgravia based concept store 50m, Thornalley speaks to Brodie Weir about what’s next for the independent brand.
Brodie Weir: How did Hurtence begin?
Maddy Thornalley: I’ve been doing it for pretty much two years now. It started once I graduated, after moping around for a while I got bored. I had this hat that I really liked, and thought that maybe I should try to make another. It was really that simple.
BW: You have a strong focus on the up-cycled materials. Why this decision?
MT: I felt that it was the only way to do it really. First of all I can’t imagine going to a fabric store and having to choose a set fabric, I go in and think, 'Well, I kind of want everything. This is just impossible.' I’ve always gone into charity shops, and noticed bits-and-bobs along the way. It’s more fun and so much easier when everything I make is one-off.
BW: Hurtence has recently been stocked at 50m, how does that work for an artisanal brand?
MT: Shops can be weird when they stock a lot of people, but 50m does it right, it’s really nice. Having an independent business like I do, they help from the bottom up, with everything from stock to commissions. I’ve just given them some more hats so those should be coming out soon!
BW: It’s exciting to see Hurtence being brought to new audiences.
MT: I find that selling hats online can be difficult because people want to know how it’s going to fit their head. 50m have been great with that. Every now and then I also put on a shop situation, where people from the internet can come and it’s safe to meet all these strangers and show what Hurtence is. It’s nice to get the hats out into real life. The show I did around the New Year was mental but for this recent one [July] I wanted to keep it simple. I played the saxophone solo from the film Taxi Driver on repeat to keep everyone calm, it was a different feeling.
BW: Because your hats are one-off, they feel like they have a personality. It makes a difference when you 'meet' a piece like that in real life.
MT: Most of the time when people come to the showroom they say they didn’t look twice at certain pieces in photos, but when it’s on their head they know it’s the one they want.
BW: What does the future hold for Hurtence?
MT: I’ve got a few pop-up shop things coming up. I’m getting more into making the extra-bits like bags and cushions, not just hats. Opening up a bit more and getting more creative with the styles.