Ascot Fashion | Interview with Jayne Elwell

Royal Ascot is one of the few events where you can throw on your finest threads for a day at the races. Of course no Ascot ensemble would be complete without a stylish hat and milliner Jayne Elwell’s brand The Libertarian is the go-to designer for finely crafted head-wear…

Based in the North, Jayne’s creations have been spotted at Ascot for the last six years and have even been featured in Grazia magazine. We interviewed Jayne about what inspires her quirky and classic designs and why she’s one of the hottest names on everyone’s lips when it comes to Ascot fashion!

personahatsHats created for performance group The Tootsie Rollers |

Courtesy of Getty Images

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand the Libertarian

I create hats and headwear that are fun, sometimes a little crazy but always elegant. My aim is to offer an alternative to what already exists so I create each hat from scratch and hand make as much of the trimmings as possible. My customers range from women in their early twenties to women in their seventies and they wear them the weddings, the races and parties. I accept commissions, have a ready to wear and a hire collection. All can be seen online at

How did you get into design ?

I studied Fine Art at University but decided that I was really interested in the design side of the creative industries once I graduated. I still have a big interest in Fine Art and sometimes even try to approach projects as a Fine artist rather than a designer.


What inspires you; especially when coming up with ideas for a specific piece?

Everything seems to inspire me. I am a lover of art and design in general so I am always noting things like photography, cinematography, historical fashion, movie posters and even the design of everyday things like cutlery! They all filter in together.

What are you most proud of so far in your career as a milliner?

The press I have received at Royal Ascot over the past six years. Having personally attended the past five years and seeing the amount of wonderful hats that are there, I can see it is a real achievement to be picked out and featured in the global press coverage.

What did you most enjoy about the recent NE1 Fashion Futures event at the Baltic?

As I am one of the Fashion Front Row Catwalk event organisers, I was backstage for the whole event. However I did managed to watch the show on a monitor, so my favorite part was seeing all the designers (including my own) work on the catwalk. I know how much work had gone into the event- production, models, make up artists and hair stylists plus the work of all the individual designers so seeing everyone’s efforts coming together was the highlight for me.

What projects are you currently involved in?

I have just finished teaching a weekly art and design class as part of a national scheme to expose teenagers to the creative industries and future career pathways.
I am working with some local filmmakers to produce some films based around my work.
I am also constantly creating hats for my ever expanding hat hire collection!

Which designers are you most influenced by?

Vivienne Westwood, Coco Chanel, Henry Holland, Stella Mccartney

Who would you love to create a hat for?

Lady Gaga (I keep saying this and I should really get in touch with her!)


What do you think makes the perfect outfit (or hat) for Ascot?

There are not many events that you can wear a big statement hat to during the year but Ascot you can go as big and as bold as you like. I would suggest concentrate on the hat and keep the outfit classic, simple and elegant so your overall look doesn’t look too busy.

What do you enjoy most about Ascot?

Mutual hat appreciation with complete strangers! It’s a great place to meet people as everyone is so friendly and in good spirits.

Which of your hats has been your favourite?

My chess hat that I made recently, but I am also very proud of a recent commission I did for a creative agency advertising Branston pickle featuring a hand carved pickle and jar .

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And finally…

Which pair of sunglasses would you pick to wear to Ascot this weekend?

These Stella McCartney Peaked Cateye sunglasses in bright orange! I love bright colours and the contemporary take on a retro shape frame with this pair. I’d wear them with my chess hat and a black dress so the colour would really stand out.


Visit The Libertarian website:



Images: TheLibertarian

Which creation would you wear to Ascot?