Jonny Beardsall designs fantastical hats from reclaimed furs in a workroom in a village on the edge of a grouse moor in North Yorkshire. Inspired by his hunter-gather instincts and outdoorsy existence, his hats are all hand-sewn. Fur is sourced from finest-quality vintage coats, collars and throws that may have been hanging unwanted in wardrobes for years while some comes from contemporary garments.
From ready-to-wear in red, silver, arctic, blue and dyed-black fox to beaver, chinchilla, ermine, mole and ocelot, some hats are shockingly adorned with stuffed birds and feathers. An exclusive, made-to-order service also enables clients to provide their own furs for skilful resuscitation.
Appreciated by race-goers, they are often seen on the heads of owners and trainers in the parade ring at Cheltenham’s National Hunt Festival in March and the Open Meeting in October.
In December 2011, Holland & Holland placed their first hat. In February 2012, some sensational hats were worn by the models in Alice Temperley’s Autumn Winter 12/13 collection at London Fashion Week.
Jonny Beardsall spent the 1980s in the Army then worked in racing where he was an amateur jockey for several seasons. A lover of wilderness adventures and an inveterate traveller he went into freelance journalism in the mid-1990s. He has written extensively for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and for some years he wrote a countryside column in Weekend Telegraph.
In 2009 – after an invaluable introduction from County Durham Milliner Catherine Hart – he began designing and making hats.