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Triumph ‘Women in Making’ – Milliner Lizzie McQuade on the competition win that changed her life

Triumph 'Women in Making' judges

Lizzie McQuade is a London-based, Scottish milliner who creates hats and head-pieces utilising her skills in traditional millinery, embroidery, latex and leather-work beading and hand-dying techniques. Lizzie frequently works on commissioned pieces for clients such as Vogue, Vogue Italia, Dazed & Confused, Whistles, Partimi and Elliot Atkinson. In 2013 Lizzie became the winner of the inaugural Triumph ‘Women in Making’ competition and has been invited to join this year’s judging panel.

Lizzie McQuade
Lizzie McQuade

“…it sounded like the perfect opportunity to help take my business to the next level so I thought ‘why not’?!…”

Becoming a milliner

I studied fashion design at Edinburgh College of Art and then worked in the industry in London for six years before finding millinery as my passion. I then took a course at Kensington and Chelsea, taught by Noel Stewart and also worked with Piers Atkinson to further my millinery skills and experience.Lizzie McQuade head-piece

I’ve worked in many roles within fashion including studio manager, sales coordinator, and pattern cutter. I then went freelance so I could try my hand at different creative projects, and was asked to make styling accessories for Vogue which is what led me to a career in millinery. Since then I have been making my own hats and working with other milliners and on special projects to fund my life and work.  

Triumph ‘Women in Making’: Women supporting women

A good friend suggested I apply for ‘Women in Making’, even though she was entering herself! It was a nice start to a competition that is all about women supporting women. Once I’d read about it, it sounded like the perfect opportunity to help take my business to the next level so I thought ‘why not’?!

I was in complete shock when I won! There were so many talented women who entered I didn’t for a second dare to think I’d win. But once it sank in I started work on planning my next steps for the business and working with Triumph on the exciting events that followed the announcement.

Impact on my business and my life

It really has changed my business and my life. Firstly, the bursary fund means you can put in motion plans that may have otherwise had to wait; so that fast tracks your development.

The mentoring sessions have been incredible. To have successful women who I admire talking to me about their own experiences and about my work has given me a really great new perspective on my business and is a huge confidence boost!

Also the exposure from the competition has really opened my business up to a new audience and I’ve seen a lot of growth in my private orders section and in the interest in my brand. My seasonal collections have expanded in size and we had a printed ‘look book’ for the AW14 collection for the first time. I am meeting with buyers from high end stores to establish my first wholesale connections too.

Celebrating this year’s competition

To celebrate this year’s competition, I’m creating bespoke hats to retail within Maison Triumph.

I’m honoured to have been selected as a judge alongside such inspirational, strong and creative women. I hope I can offer a very fresh perspective on what winning the competition can mean for the winner!

Above all I’ll be looking for the winner to have a real passion for their chosen field; for me it all has to start from there. If you love what you do anything is achievable with the right support and a lot of hard work.


Judges alongside Lizzie are:

  • Noted fashion designer, Roksanda Ilincic
  • Winner of the British Fashion Council’s New Generation award, Sophia Webster
  • Founder of Nails Inc., Thea Green
  • Fenwick Bond Street’s Womenswear and Lingerie Buying Manager, Georgina Coulter

Learn more about the competition at:


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