Joanna Zara combines business knowledge with award-winning millinery design.
16 Apr 2015
University of Brighton business lecturer Joanna Zara, who teaches students on the BA & MDes Fashion and Textiles with Business Studies programme, has just won an award worth £1,000 for one of her hat designs.
The millinery competition was run as part of London Hat Week by Royal Warrant holders Lock & Co who make men and women’s hats in their shop in London’s Saint James’s Street. Joanna explained that they were looking for a design for a hat that could be sold as part of their autumn/winter casual range for women. A percentage of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to Brain Tumour Research, London Hat Week’s charity partner.
A Chartered Accountant with a BSc in Mathematics and a strong track record in financial management and planning, Joanna started her own millinery business about eight years ago. All Joanna’s hats are designed and handmade to order – mainly for special occasions such as weddings and Ascot.
Joanna said: “I was surprised and delighted to win this competition. Running my own designer maker micro business has been a great way of connecting with the students - I am certainly more empathetic to the challenges they are going to face.
“I have always enjoyed teaching on practice based design courses here at Brighton alongside both my business studies and design colleagues. Design is a subject close to my heart. I am passionate about providing our students with the knowledge they need to ensure that they place a high enough value on their creativity, and an understanding of how they can make a living from their talents when they graduate. Students are also given a thorough grounding in marketing and design management while they are with us, which we believe gives them a real competitive edge.”
Joanna is also involved in raising money for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. She said: “I recently had the pleasure of working with the inspirational Sara Snood Cutting who is raising money for Macmillan by posting a ‘selfie’ of herself on Facebook every day for a year wearing different headgear. I have lent her a number of hats to wear and she has been interviewed by Latest TV and Sky TV wearing a gold fascinator I designed and made especially for her. So far Sara’s campaign has raised over £10,000.”
Before moving into lecturing Joanna spent a number of years working in tax advice and then business planning and strategy for EMI Records in London before moving down to Brighton to start a family.