Raised in Norfolk with three generations of women, Piers Atkinson has worn nearly as many hats as he’s made. Atkinson eventually moved to London in 1995, where he helped out at that year’s Alternative Miss World, the brainchild of artist Andrew Logan, with whom he has continued to collaborate over the years. In 1999, Piers started with iconic fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, who he assisted with art direction and in-house PR, followed by a similar stint at Blow PR. He later shifted to editorial work at Disorder Magazine as well as behind the newspaper for Graduate Fashion Week and the daily for London Fashion Week. During this time, he created a small range of hats to “let off steam”—a range that became his debut collection. He has since collaborated with designers Ashish, J Maskrey and Noki for runway presentations, has pieces in the V&A’s Hats: an Anthology by Stephen Jones, has dressed Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Cate Blanchett, Paloma Faith and Lily Allen, and is currently in talks with designers across the pond. Piers also works as a trend consultant with major organizations and brands, teaches Fashion Illustration at The London College of Fashion and continues to support new talent in the fashion industry in as many ways as he can.
What’s hot right now?
Dalston Market is my place for inspiration. It’s pretty chaotic down there with 1,001 cultures shopping away at a snail’s pace, yet the energy is electric. For restaurants, there’s Mangal in Dalston, Shanghai in Dalston, Dalstons Superstore Breakfasts—I obviously like Dalston. As far as music and movies go, Kate Bush for me—still!—and anything with Dames Maggie Smith or Judy Dench. Designer-wise, I like Noki and Karlie Shelley (the creative force behind Pins), but Charles Youssef and Craig Lawrence are both young designers who continue the trend for architectural innovation in their own unique ways. I’m a big fan of Holly Fulton and David Koma too—their clothes are like wearable art deco. Artistically, there’s Alex Noble (collage) and Morgan White (photography). Alun Davies is an amazing art director and Kim Howells is a meteoric stylist who contributes to Dazed Digital here and Contributing Editor in New York. And, of course, Judy Blame. Comedian Christopher Green is a genius and has a variety of characters—my favorite is Ida Barr, a pensioner rapper with songs like “Artificial Hip-Hop,” “Slipped Disco” and “Get Old or Die Trying.”
Who are you favorite emerging British designers?
David Koma as his work is so sexy and chic without being arch. His last collection was very recognizably his own, but took a very new direction and that’s not easy to achieve. It shows he has something unmistakable his.
What are the essential items women should have this summer?
Hats!! And umbrellas if visiting the UK.
How should women integrate hats to their wardrobes?
I think think of the season and occasion. Straw is so lovely in the summer, and flowers are always a winner, while feathers can look a little frou-frou unless stiffened. Hats aren’t as much of a must as they used to be so it takes a bold persona or a good excuse (ascot, weddings) to wear one—and look at the result when that happens! Everyone loves to wear a hat and everyone loves to see hats, it just takes confidence. I make a lot of decorated hairbands to encourage the move into headwear. I often see women in hairbands with HUGE decorations, who wouldn’t dare wear the tiniest plain hat, so it’s just about fashion. I love the fact that hats are seen as special.