Rachel Skinner at Lewes-based milliners Lomax & Skinner

PUBLISHED: 11:44 16 April 2018

From left: Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner (Photo by Philip Traill)

From left: Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner (Photo by Philip Traill)

Philip Traill

Best friends Rachel Skinner and Sarah Lomax created their millinery business in Lewes five years ago. Rachel tells Harry Maddock what sets their work apart

“I just knew from that first lesson that that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” says Rachel Skinner of Lomax & Skinner, describing how an inspiring teacher at London College of Fashion led her down the path of millinery.

Rachel used to run her own millinery shop in London and had her work featured in Vogue, Harpers & Queen and Elle. Clients included members of the Royal family, Kate Mosse and Mick Jagger but since opening a joint venture in 2013 with best friend and fellow milliner Sarah Lomax,“it’s a different customer base. Our biggest customers are mothers of the bride or groom, followed closely by wedding guests.”

Lomax & Skinner can create the perfect hat for a client’s outfit and this is what sets them apart, according to Rachel. “Customers might be people who have been round the shops and can’t find what they’re looking for. We offer a bespoke service where we take a lot of time advising people on what style suits them.”

But wedding guests and race-goers are not Lomax & Skinner’s only customers. They also offer a number of millinery courses: “We run solo tuition and small groups up to maybe five.

“They’re wide-ranging: from making a hat to making a trilby, working on trimmings and making flowers.”

While the shop and studio get very busy, especially in summer, Rachel wouldn’t change it for the world. “It never gets boring; it’s always a new challenge, new materials. We learn every day.”

And there are other benefits too, she says: “Working with my best friend is a privilege. We both bring different skills to the business.”


Sussex Creation is a series by photographer Philip Traill, exploring people in their work environment, capturing the characters and what they do in a single image.


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