Made in Hampshire - Manthy Procter, Fashion Designer
PUBLISHED: 16:45 18 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:45 18 September 2014
Samantha Procter thought her career as a Fashion Designer was over when she left London to start a family. Now, ten years on, she's started up on her own with a unique collection of hats and fascinators
Influenced by the BBC’s dramatisation of Jane Austin’s, Pride and Prejudice, Samantha made her first hat at Senior School out of cereal boxes, old ribbons and fabric remnants. Born and raised in Luton, home to the ‘Straw Boater’, she was inspired by the town’s illustrious hat industry and knew from an early age that she wanted to do something creative with her life. She explains: “You could say my fascination for painting and sewing was inherited. My Grandfather had been a Sign Writer, he even painted scenery for Elstree Studios; and my Great Grandfather had been a Tailor in St Pancras.” At home, Samantha was always encouraged.
“I was very fortunate to have a Mum who never minded me leaving messy projects around the house; she was the one that taught me how to sew. Dad was a jazz drummer and loved that I wanted to pursue a creative career.”
She studied for a BTEC in Fashion and Design at Barnfield College before moving to London to work as a Designer and Pattern Cutter for Antony Hoffman of Joy Hoffman PLC.
Settling down to have a family took Samantha out of London to Winchester, where she found herself surrounded by bits of material and knick knacks left over from her career. She says: “I was inspired by the ‘Make Do and Mend’ craze, and the revival in British arts and crafts. Most of my hats are made from unwanted materials reworked into something new and unique.”
Samantha’s designs emulate her love for all things pretty and feminine, but she does like to keep an eye on current fashion trends; as well as taking inspiration from historical costumes.
“I keep a little black book by my bed so I can draw up any momentary inspiration! I always start with a design sketch, but once the hat is turned out from its mould, it will evolve instinctively as I experiment with various trimmings.”
With one of her pieces set to be featured in Glamour magazine’s October issue, Samantha is beginning to catch the eye of the fashion industry. Her long term plan is to add a small range of coordinating garments and, she would “love to have my own little shop full of beautiful, creative and pretty things to wear.”
For now, running her own business fits in well around her three daughters as she explains: “I didn’t intend on starting a business, but found, after I’d made so many hats, I needed a showcase to display them. Everyone seemed to love them,saying how unique they were. My husband made me a website and I organised a fashion shoot and it went from there.”
Business name: Manthy Procter
Length of time in business: 11 months
Number of employees: Just me
Ethos: Taking something no longer in use or worn out and giving it new life as something either beautiful or creative.
Contact: 01962 889107, www.manthyprocter.co
James Durrant on working with Gordon Ramsey, winning Great British Menu and his gastro pub in Longparish
Celebrities and other famous figures who went to school in Hampshire
Interview with Robert Crosthwaite Eyre of The Bell Inn