Ep219 Sahar Freemantle – Award-winning Milliner: Designer, Maker, and Business Owner
MEET SAHAR FREEMANTLE
Sahar Freemantle is an award-winning milliner based in London. The purpose of her brand Sahar Millinery is to spread beauty and inspire creativity.
Sahar and her team are inspired by the empowerment that a good hat can bring about in the wearer – the right hat can make us stand tall, glow with confidence and give off the vibe ‘Yes, I know I look good.’
‘Our hats are seductive and fun, elusive and inviting. They prompt confidence in the wearer and smiles from spectators’
Sahar is a QEST* scholar and has a BaHons in Performance Costume from Edinburgh College of Art. She uses traditional millinery methods in her handmade hats, which have great shapes, compliments the wearer, and are comfortable to wear.
‘A good practice of traditional millinery is our springboard from which we dive with electrified tenacity into an arena of playfulness; exploring a vast ocean of ideas, creating new techniques, making happy accidents, getting messy, experimenting with materials, basking in failures, dancing with new designs, and flowing in freedom and fun’
When excellent craftsmanship merges with playful curiosity, what emerges is a fresh embodiment of British eccentricity.
Sahar’s studio is a wonderland of curiosities in the heart of her favourite city – London. Here we find mounted skulls, butterfly wings, and framed accidents, which she calls ‘glorious failures’ -amongst a plethora of hats and headpieces ready to be tried on.
A visit to the millinery studio is a treat for anyone and has often been described as ‘like being a sweet shop, you want to try everything, and never want to leave.’
With care and attention Sahar picks out hats for her customers to try, and when they hit upon the right hat, the wearer is transformed. They see their reflection and instantly stand taller, beaming with confidence and knowing they exude elegant sophistication. The transformation is within, the catalyst is the hat.
Making a bespoke commission is a creative collaboration with the client; ‘we hear your stories, get to know you, and bring out the wonderful gems that are hidden – both metaphorically and literally. Your hat embodies you.’
Sahar Millinery also runs hat-making workshops and a highly stylized hat-focused life drawing event called The Milliners Drawing Room. Both of these ventures aim to bring out creativity from participants, so – like her bespoke commissions – Sahar’s audience are not just passive spectators or wearers, but intrinsically involved in the creation process.
Sahar Millinery’s sub-brand UglyLovely is a celebration of finding beauty in the unconventional. Materials span from found rusted keys to insects and real butterflies, branches, birdwings, and antique cutlery. UglyLovely is about really looking – getting beyond our initial reaction and digging deeper. The goal is to see the spectator’s reaction go from ‘eww’ to ‘wow’ in a matter of seconds.
Sahar’s work has been exhibited at the V&A, as well as internationally in Japan, Portugal, Mali, Berlin, France. She has been featured in The Guardian, The Independent and Evening Standards list of best Ascot Hats, on Screen in Downton Abbey, and on celebrities such as Ellie Goulding, Paloma Faith, Katy Perry, Celeste, Charli Howard, Georgina Campbell, Victoria Baker-Harber, and Immodesty Blaize.
Sahar creates immersive journeys through her work. She takes everyone with her, and everyone is left winning – from the spectator to the wearer, the drawer, to the dancer. The journeys are of beauty and inspiration, excitement and upliftment. We delight in the unexpected and become part of the creation.