The State of Millinery Today: Stephen Jones and the Talenthouse Competition

The dust is slowly settling, no more appeals for votes, we’re all waiting for the decision of Mr. (Stephen) and Ms (Dolly) Jones on who is the lucky winner. The winner, that is, of the millinery competition on Talenthouse in conjuncture with the exhibit “Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones” coming to New York at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan.

The prizes are fantastic, so it was no surprise that over 500 milliners and hat designers entered the race.

Recognition for your work by having your hat displayed with the Stephen Jones exhibit;
global exposure by having your design featured on,
on Stephen Jones’ Facebook page and
a priceless two week internship with Stephen Jones;
two tickets to the opening night party of Hats: An Anthology at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City;
a signed copy of Stephen Jones’ book “Hats: An Anthology”;
a one year membership to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London:

These make every hot-blooded milliner drool.

After doing what I could do without becoming overly obnoxious (enter a hat, send out email appeals and various postings in various social media), after some Angst over the results or lack thereof, I’ve now started to gain some distance.

First of all, I was very pleased with the amount of really great hats entered. I expected a few oddities, and yes, they are there, too.

I wasn’t too bothered by the scores; I felt from the start that the voting system would be less a test of your design and more a test of your social network. What bothers me is the low, low number of votes that even the top entries collected.

During the last day of the competition’s voting phase, I looked at the amount of votes the highest ranking entry, and the numbers made me shiver. Not because they made winning the popular vote impossible, but because there were so few voters!

The talenthouse system allows one person up to 3 votes, so an entry which gathered 2000 votes in reality had between 667 and 2000 persons with a pulse vote for them. In addition, voters were able to vote for more than one entry. My personal expectation was that there would be tens of thousands of voters flocking to the website. This was not the case.

So I’m wondering: how can something that created so much buzz in the millinery world have so little impact with the rest of the earthlings?


2 Comments Add yours

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