HATS don't usually take the focus on a catwalk. We leave that to the waifer-thin models, the spectacular clothes or the who's who of fashion gracing the front row.

"Projects such as Making Headway really showcases the wealth of creative talent in the North West"

But hats are to be the main focus at a fashion show featuring the designs of thirteen millinery talents at St. Mary's Church in Stockport. The 'Making Headway' show will run at 1.30pm and 2.30pm on Saturday 17 May.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 At 13.03.03One design by millinery talent Beth Simpson of Lady Go Red

The 'Making Headway' showcase will feature 30 hats inspired by collections at Stockport's Hat Museum and will be shown against a stunning visual installation of 10,000 paper hats created by students at the Manchester School of Architecture.

The participating milliners in the show are: Beth Simpson of Lady Go Red, Francisco Rico, Jane Bailey, Marina Walger, Victoria Shearing, Marie Thornton, Sue Wood, Margaret Woodliff-Wright, Marie Halewood, Victoria Shearing, Kate Jones, Sue Carter and Rhian Kempadoo. 

The milliners have been selected through an open competition and their designs will be available for purchase at the Hat Works. This is the first time hats being exhibited will be available for sale, and the public will have the chance to take home a piece of emerging talent from the millinery industry.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 At 12.34.10Stockport Hat WorksThe fashion show is being curated by the long-standing Hat Works Museum in Stockport.

Back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Stockport was a well-known hat making town and the museum is housed in one of the former factories. The Hat Works is the only museum in the UK dedicated to hatting and headwear. 

The project has been welcomed as part of Stockport's push to encourage local businesses and shops to transform the high street via innovative ideas. This scheme, funded by Portas Pilot, is also in operation in twelve other towns with the aim of restoring the high street and bringing people and employment back.

"Projects such as Making Headway really showcases the wealth of creative talent in the North West, and what is possible when the heritage of one of Stockport’s oldest industries is combined with an innovative vision for the future," said Stockport Council's Chief Executive Eammon Boylan. "We are fortunate to have been able to collaborate with high quality partners and the result is this stunning catwalk event and a forthcoming exhibition."

The Making Headway show will be held at 1.30pm and 2.30pm at St. Mary's Church, Stockport, SK1 1YG on Saturday 17th May.

This event is not ticketed, but ran on a drop in basis. More here.

Follow Niamh Spence at @missnspence