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Modistit - hattuja, asusteita ja ammattisalaisuuksia -näyttely Suomen käsityön museossa keväällä 2022. Image Suomen Muotiliikkeiden Liitto


The exhibition presents a traditional but today somewhat mysterious professional group, milliners. The professional title of milliner comes from the French word modiste. It means a designer, manufacturer and seller of fashionable accessories for women, especially hats. Milliner and hatter have traditionally been two different professions; milliners design and makes hats for women and hatters for men.

The exhibition features tools, equipment and materials used by milliners for decades. As well as, of course, accessories and headwear made by the members of the union, some from the nostalgic decades. You can have a look at the trade secrets of milliners through videos about manufacturing hats.

Profession of milliner

Milliner education in Finland lasts two years, but you only really learn the profession in working life. In addition to craft skills, the profession of a milliner requires creative design skills and a wealth of ideas. Working with hats, accessories and fur headwear requires a sense of colour, shape and style, as well as the ability to work with different materials. Headwear is mainly sewn by hand, but in addition to a sewing machine, milliners still use many traditional tools, such as hat blocks, flower irons and hat steamers.

A milliner profession graduate can work as an entrepreneur, in a theatre costume shop, and in design or marketing positions in the field of fashion and clothing. Theatres and film productions usually employ milliners seasonally. In practice, however, most milliners employ themselves as entrepreneurs and make custom-made headwear for customers ’everyday lives and celebrations.

Milliners – hats, accessories and trade secrets exhibition has been compiled by the members of the Finnish Milliners Guild (Suomen Muotiliikkeiden Liitto) under the direction of Fiona Timantti, master milliner.

Milliners – Hats, Accessories and Trade secrets

Exhibition in the Craft Museum of Finland Lobby Gallery 12.3.–15.5.2022

More information

Mikko Oikari, senior curator, Craft Museum of Finland, mikko.oikari [at] 

Suomen käsityön museo