Ochini Millinery by Ochini
Ochini specializes in designing and creating occasion headwear. She was born in Sri Lanka and moved to the UK with her family when she was only 8 months old. She has been fortunate to travel and been exposed to many beautiful in life; both natural and man-made beauties nurtured her love for accessories. No wonder her brand, Ochini Millinery is all about tropical and majestic designs of Asia made in western techniques and styles.
How did you start your accessory brand?
I started making fabric flowers for wedding bouquets. One day at a wedding show I was exhibiting a small collection of hair accessories on the side. Surprisingly, I received more attention for those and redirected my creativity towards headwear.
Did you know, a lot of her designs are inspired by nature and incorporate a lot of floral details. But what’s interesting is that she can also be inspired by food or desserts and the colour schemes that come from them.
Why do you do what you do?
It's a form of art, I enjoy the challenge of creating something visually beautiful whilst having to be a wearable item. Mostly I enjoy playing with colour schemes and creating beautiful things that have a purpose.
What do you like about your job?
I work at my own pace and in my own time, this way I can pay more attention to the design I'm working on. You don't rush a painting. I like the fact that I am not a factory line or trying to fulfil many orders of one thing, the pieces I create are unique or a one-off design.
We will see a lot of floral work in designs, as she says floral embellishments are her signature style. She also says she is obsessed with anything floral.
Tell us more about your most popular designs.
My most popular designs have all had floral detailing, they all have been more statement pieces larger in size.
We would love to hear about your studio/making time.
My studio is home based, I design and make pieces in my spare time. I am a new mother and so it has been a new challenge for me to juggle both.
What's your proudest moment in your accessory designer career? What makes you a happy artist?
When clients tell me how much they like my designs, it keeps me motivated. My proudest moment yet has been seeing my pieces on a runway in New York.
What is your dream project? If there are no limitations, what would you like to create?
I absolutely love the work of millinery Maor Zabar and would love to make a tiny doll like scenes on hats.
What's your accessory styling advice for your clients?
If the accessory is a statement piece, then style everything to it, make it the main piece and everything else the accessory.
What skills are necessary to be a successful designer? Do you have any tips for the aspiring artists who want to start their own accessory brand?
Experiment and play, try don't spend too much time planning and thinking. Many of my designs have been the result of playing with different materials and colours. Also, you need to be driven, self-motivated, patient and follow your heart.
Which of your designs is your favourite? Can you tell us the story behind it?
I don't think I have one favourite. However, one of my favourite hats is my Golden Doll cocktail hat. The design is a hand embroidered matryoshka doll nestled in large gold petals. It incorporates a mix of techniques I have learnt over the years and was inspired by my husband's Russian heritage.
Tell us one secret that not many designers or customers know about accessory making.
Accessory making can require a lot of different materials to be used in one design. Each material may need its own techniques and processes to work with. You may never really know how long something has taken to be made to its final state.
Do you have anything else you would like to let The Accessory Circle readers and customers know about you and your brand?
Accessories are always the fun part!
London Accessory Week Team