Britain's biggest name in hat design, Milliner Stephen Jones RDI, spent a second day a Whitley Academy last Thursday, delivering an inspirational talk and workshop to a group of sixth form art & design students. Stephen - who has designed hats for the likes of Princess Diana, Beyonce Knowles and Gwen Stefani - is one of the celebrated RSA 'Royal Designers for Industry' (RDI). He has been committing his time to working with the Whitley Academy students as part of the RDI '75 Days' initiative, where RDIs collectively share 75 days of their expertise with the RSA.
The brief Stephen Jones set for students was to design a hat that represented each student’s character and interests. This was an exercise in building self-confidence and self-esteem as well as developing design skills, and it was a huge success. A competitive edge has now been set as Stephen returns to Whitley Academy on 30th November to help them complete their work, and he will judge the finished designs at a catwalk event to be held in the school hall.
A brilliant example of how designers can contribute inspiration and quality to design education, and also of the enrichment that partnership in our RSA Family of Academies can offer.