BISHOP Auckland-born Joel Alexander, 26, is a young milliner who’s made a massive impact on the local and national fashion scene. After Joel’s talents for hat making were recognised, he decided to set up a showroom and workshop in his native County Durham.
Quills Millinery has been in existence for almost 12 months and in that time, the business has already graced the pages of Vogue magazine. Joel creates bespoke items for all occasions.
Before Joel went into business he decided to go travelling to places like China, India, Russia and New Zealand – these brushes with different cultures have been a definite influence on his designs.
Joel’s family enjoys a wide selection of interesting professions. Of his three brothers Joshua is a petrol and car retailer, Timothy is a property developer and Guy is a professional rally driver.
What’s your first memory?
I remember my parents buying me a football on holiday, and all I did was carry it around, wherever I went, the football would follow – to my brothers’ annoyance.
What were you like as a child?
I was very creative and quite full on. I always had bags of energy.
What childhood games did you play?
Having three older brothers meant that hide and seek was always fun. Another favourite was “What time is it Mr Wolf?”
What music did you like and what was the first record you bought?
My first record (CD) was actually a birthday present I was given, it was the Oasis song Don’t Look Back in Anger – a true classic in my eyes. I loved and still love this song.
Did you have a family pet?
Yes, our first family pet was a collie cross called Scruffy, and like the wolf out of the film Dances with Wolves, we nicked named him Two Socks – as Scruffy had two milky white front paws.
Were your school days the best days of your life?
My GCSE and A levels were the best school years of my life, especially boarding in the sixth form.
Were you ever bullied?
Yes, in my younger years.
What were your favourite TV programmes?
As a child, I particularly liked Fireman Sam, The Animals of Farthing Wood and Byker Grove to name but a few...
What did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be an aviation pilot.
How did you spend your weekends?
After Saturday morning school, our weekends consisted of playing at home on motorbikes and go-Karts, as well as making camps and playing sports. I tried to do this as often as possible, either having friends over or vice-versa.
Do you remember your first kiss?
Yes and until asked this question, something I had not thought about in a long time.
Who was your first love?
It was more of a crush, with whom, that would be telling!
What did you wear then, that you would never wear now?
Anything green, I blame my mum for this... green and ginger hair is not a good look!
How have you changed from your teenage self?
I’m more confident now and I’m a lot more sociable and at ease in new situations. This coupled with being less jokey and more driven in life.
Where did you go on holiday?
Family holidays we spent in the South of France, Europe and a family trip to Disney Land.
Would the young you be pleased with the adult you?
I think the young Joel would be pleased how he’s turned out.
If you could go back in time what would tell your 15-year old self?
Easy, I would tell myself to not waste a day.
Joel is gearing up for the spring launch of his stunning Joel Alexander Bespoke Collection 2011. For further information about the collection, or about Quills Millinery, please visit www.quillsmillinery.com