Interview- Margaret O’Connor Millinery.

Irish Milliner, Margaret O’Connor hit the headlines when one of her amazing pieces was worn by none other than Lady Gaga.
We caught up with the designer herself to ask her about her journey into the fashion world , how exited she was to see Gaga wearing her piece, and what’s in store for the future..
Hi Margaret, can you begin by telling us a bit about yourself and your journey up to this point? 
I’m a Clare lady from Boston , in the heart of the Burren. When describing where I’m from I normally tell people I live up the road from Fr. Ted’s house – everybody knows where that is! I went to secondary school in Gort Co.Galway. I did a portfolio course in GTI Galway, followed by a degree in art and design Cluin Mhuaire GMIT, specialising in textiles. I then moved to Edinburgh where I worked with Yvette Jelfs,  a hat maker. I got an opportunity to do an internship with Noel Stewart so I moved to London
followed by another internship with Philip Treacy which co in-sided with Kate, Willam’s and Zara Philips weddings.  I then studied millinery in  Kensington and Chelsea college for a year.I was working in Macculloch and Wallis straight after the course at KCC. Its a haberdashery over 100 years old. John who works there is a fountain of knowledge I learned a lot off him and in his section about materials,I would recommend designers to work in shops like this. I am now working on my own label  which is gathering pace, and keeping me very busy I’m getting great help from the princess trust.
Has design always been what you saw yourself doing?
 I guess I was born this way!
Since graduating, how long has it taken you to get established as a designer?
It’s been five years working to get established.
When did you move to London? Was this for career reasons, and if so do you find that you have more opportunities in London?                        
I fell in love with the city when I was 17, I visited my sister every year, as London was her home at that time. I also moved because of career reasons, it was an excuse and extra push to take the plunge to the big smoke, as my Mammy calls it. I feel all big city’s have more opportunities without a shadow of a doubt.
Was it hard being from Ireland to get established there?
I’m not sure if it makes any difference to be honest it’s all about one’s self drive and the lust for success.
Any tips for upcoming designers how to create a brand and to get established? 
The wise words of  Morrissey “Action is my middle name, I can’t waste time anymore”
If you could go back  and talk to yourself 5 years ago, what would you say?
I wouldn’t say anything. All my mistakes have made me who I am. I probably wouldn’t have listened to myself in the future when I was 22.  Unlike now if I met myself 32 years old  in the future, I would take notes and wise up.
You recently had Lady Gaga wear one of your pieces, (CONGRATULATIONS!!). Has this given you a boost in interest? How did you feel when you saw her wearing it?
Yes some more celebs are interested in my work now so that’s good. To be honest Una,  I was sick for two days-  totally in shock!
Tell us about your label…
I make bespoke and commercial hats all designed and made by myself. My hats are for everybody.
Anyone can email me or call me for orders, my web site is
Where can you see yourself progressing from here? 
I want to have my hats on the catwalk and photos of my hats on the front cover of high end fashion magazines. I would also like my hats to be stocked in each big city in the world.
With the way things are going for you Margaret , we think that’s not too far off in your future! 
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Quick fire round:
Life motto:
It doesn’t matter how many years it takes you to get to where you are going, just as long as you stay going.
Biggest fashion faux pas you’ve made:
It was a navy pin striped trouser suit with a white blouse and a bob hair cut with a glittery slide over my eye… That I wore for my confirmation outfit (aged 13) .
Most lusted after item at the moment:
A vintage electric blue VW Beetle with black leather interior .
Most annoying thing about working in Fashion? :
Interns don’t get paid.
Most satisfying thing about working in Fashion?:  
Completing a collection. And getting it photographed professionally.
Celeb you would love to dress most? 
Celeb you would hate to see wearing one of your creations? :
Ben Stiller.
Check out more of Margaret’s work here… Words: Una O’Boyle, Tabitha Magazine. 

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