The Royal College of Art student discusses her millinery style, their resemblance to sculptures and the materials she uses
Hannah Morgan, creator of abstract wooden, metal or even rubber sculptures that transforms into hats once put on a head, widens the horizons of millinery with her radical creations. A current RCA student, Hannah talks to Dazed Digital about the philosophy of her hats and how she transforms them into living sculptures...
Dazed Digital: How did you get into millinery?
Hannah Morgan: After graduating from Sussex University where I studied English literature and film theory, I worked in a variety of roles in fashion from assisting art directors and stylists, to production and trend forecasting. I did so much during those years!
After a while I realized that there was something missing, I want to make things, and let the exasperated creativity out! I suppose it was inevitable as the majority of my family are artists; my mum, dad, great uncles, aunts, everyone! They are all so good, which made it a bit of a challenge for me to get over the insecurities of ‘creating’ in public. I started making head pieces for some shoots and then I decided that millinery is something that I would like to do, which lead me to the RCA.
DD: What interest you in millinery?
Hannah Morgan: It's not necessarily the hats themselves that I like, it’s the notion that I can challenge what the head is used for and how it is seen, the relationship of our consciousness with our head and the importance of it. The head for me is such an evocative part of the body. It’s vital for communication. As soon as you start playing around with subversive or complimentary objects, and the expressiveness of the head you get a totally different sense of somebody.
On a physical level, a hat is something that effects and elongates a body. It is this tension between a relationship of an object on the head and the result within the body (from the way you walk, to how you move and feel) that for me excites and challenges my designs. As soon as you put something on your head your spine automatically reacts to the object, trying to balance and understand why something is on the head, which makes your posture and demeanor change completely. I think physiologically putting something on your head is very interesting.
DD: Your hats resemble sculptures rather then hats in a traditional sense...
Hannah Morgan: I am trying to understand a head as a theoretical thing and how can I transform, change, reduce or enlarge it. It is almost like a living sculpture that I am trying to create on the head. Which sounds horribly pretentious, but I like to think too much!
DD: What do you mean by living sculpture?
Hannah Morgan: I create objects that you wouldn’t necessarily recognize as a hat. The objects I create are only able to become that final image that I had in my mind, when it is on a head and becomes ‘living’. What interest me are the tensions between the objects and the head, and its transformation into one self-supported sculpture.
All of the pieces from my first exhibition are about this tension between the wood, the metal and the head. The hat could only be created in that form when it’s on a head, but can exist as an object in its own right, just as our heads do. My objects change according to which person putting it on, the sculpture is always transforming, and that’s the excitement of it. You never see it in one dimension.
DD: It is fascinating that you put a person and a hat on the same level…
Hannah Morgan: Yes, it’s a socialist system! Haha! Thanks mum and dad…