Tipperary raised Milliner Kathy Langley is the owner of Kathy Langley Designs which produces bespoke hats and headwear for special occasions, fashion events, the races, ladies’ days and weddings.
She has a variation of styles between elegant and dramatic design, catering for the individual and their fashion tastes. Her colour palette ranges from neutral shades to rich bold colours.
Kathy was born in Cork and grew up on a farm in Tipperary outside Thurles where she was always encouraged and influenced by her family in equine pursuits. She always expressed a passion for all areas of fashion be it at the races or various horse shows and fashion events.
She is based in Waterford but always regards Tipperary as home and always considers her family to be her top priority who are only a county away. She is a busy single mum to a beautiful little girl who is her entire world;
“My most influential fashion critics would be my beautiful mum Diane, sister Lydia and my wonderful daughter Sam. I am so continuously grateful for my little lady, she opens up a new creative world for me.”
Kathy's father is the late Dr Oliver Langley who passed away in 2000 from Cancer. He was a well known and respected vet. Her mother Diana lives in Archerstown and has been the greatest influence to Kathy over the years. According to Kathy “she has been my greatest influence and overcoming odds is something she has taught me well. She is a cancer fighter to this day, loved by all who know her and the most positive person I know”.
She is very close to her siblings Harry, who is a farmer along with being a Maths and Physics teacher, Lydia, who is a Veterinary Surgeon and Charles who is in Wind Turbine/Renewable Energy management along with farming.
Kathy herself is a keen rider and was taught by her mother as she was an excellent competitor in her day winning many eventing competitions. Kathy even did a year of mustering in Queensland Australia which was adrenaline filled according to the Milliner. Her own daughter Sam is very interested in horses and Kathy is currently on the lookout for a small pony for her so she too can learn how to ride from Diana.
“I have made a multitude of friendships through racing since I started and strangely perhaps to others, I find the most down to earth people are fellow designers and milliners. I think that the general consensus is that we are at heads with each other but in reality I personally believe we all have a mutual respect and admiration for each others work so long as we stay original. Design shouldn’t be so much a competition but an expression of your own thoughts and ideas.”
Kathy graduated from Grafton Academy of Dress Design, gaining lifelong skills in many areas of fabric manipulation and design techniques. Her interest in Millinery progressed after winning a competition for The Irish Heart Foundation. She is influenced by many great designers such as the entrepreneurial flare and elegance of Coco Chanel, the artistic creativity and innovation of Philip Treacy and the way Paul Costelloe captures women’s silhouettes with beautiful designs and tailoring. She finds inspiration from celebrities including Olivia Palermo, regal fashion such as Kate Middleton, to the unforgettable Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy.
“I think what I adore about Phillip Treacy’s creations is that he designs flawlessly to suit a variety of clients and their requirements. He adapts to fashion trends effortlessly and he also believes that there is a hat out there to suit any woman. I aspire to be as flexible with my own creations while also catering to all face shapes and the clients needs. Everyone should embrace their own unique sense of style and feel fabulous. When a client is brimming with delight and confident in herself that’s the highlight to a job I love doing!”
She completed the Craft Academy Course with the Chamber of Commerce in June and is presently working on pieces including new concepts for collections in 2018.
“I do strongly encourage anyone to at least attempt following their own passion in any field as the possibilities are endless especially for an Irish designer, artist, writer, crafter and so forth; as long as they have self belief and determination to stay the course.”