With an impressive CV that reads like a roll call of the fashion industry’s most significant brands, Katie Hillier has not only contributed in reshaping fashion but has also paved the way for many aspiring creatives to step into the field. Despite her widespread influence, much of Hillier’s life and history remains relatively unknown. Here, we uncover ten surprising facts about this remarkable fashion maven.

1. Her Start in the Fashion Industry

After studying accessory design at the University of Westminster, Hillier got her start in the fashion world working for stylists such as Luella Bartley and Giles Deacon in the late 90s. She quickly gained industry prominence, showcasing her talent by developing statement-making accessory lines like her unmistakable animal-shaped paper clips, which have now become one of her signatures.

In her early days, Hillier also worked backstage at fashion shows, learning the ropes of the industry. This hands-on experience helped her understand the fundamental techniques and hobbyist aspects of fashion that became invaluable in her later career.

2. The Creation of ‘Hillier Bartley’

In 2015, Hillier teamed up with her old friend and muse Luella Bartley to create their fashion label, ‘Hillier Bartley.’ Concentrating on the drawing and cutting of the crafting process, they showcased their immense respect for traditional British tailoring, combined with their individual quirks and characters.

The brand was initially exclusively sold at matchesfashion.com, but has since found its niche in the fashion market, with an international profile and slots at renowned fashion outlets. The brand has consistently distinguished itself with a focus on sustainability and eco-conscious fashion.

3. Katie as Marc by Marc Jacobs Creative Director

Katie Hillier made a significant impact during her time as the creative director for Marc by Marc Jacobs. She held this position for about five years from 2008 till 2013. During this period, her influence was profoundly felt on the Marc by Marc Jacobs accessories line, where her unique design elements and exceptional creativity shone through.

The accessories she developed for Marc by Marc Jacobs became fashion statements in their own right, often stealing the show at various fashion weeks. Her tenure there not only solidified her standing in the fashion industry but also led to a significant increase in sales for the brand.

4. Her Love for Animals

Katie Hiller’s love for animals isn’t just apparent in her designs, but it’s also a part of her personal life. Her animal-themed accessory designs became a hallmark for her, showing her affinity for the charm and whimsy animals bring. Her signature designs include bunny and deer-shaped paper clips that became well-known within the fashion world.

Katie’s sentimentality for animals also extends to her personal life. She has a deep respect for animal lives and is an advocate for animal rights, often using her influential platform to raise awareness about animal cruelty and promote animal welfare.

5. She was awarded Accessory designer of the Year

In 2009, Hillier was awarded Accessory Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, an accolade that marked an important milestone in her career. The award signified her significant contributions to the fashion industry and her mastery in accessory design.

The recognition bestowed upon her that year served as a testament to her ingenuity, creativity, and ability to consistently produce outstanding and unique accessories that both capture the spirit of the times and invoke a sense of timeless elegance.

6. Her Collaboration with Victoria Beckham

One of Hillier’s most notable collaborations was with the Spice Girl turned style mogul, Victoria Beckham. Serving as the Creative Director, Hillier was able to bring a touch of her signature charm and wit to Victoria Beckham’s collections.

Her collaboration with Victoria Beckham resulted in some truly remarkable pieces, reflecting both Victoria’s refined taste and Hillier’s innovative spirit. This collaboration further established Hillier as a formidable force within the fashion industry.

7. Her Private Life

Aside from her glamorous fashion career, Katie Hillier is known for keeping her private life away from the public eye. Though she is an influential figure in the fashion world, Hillier leads a low-key lifestyle outside of her work. She is rarely seen at industry parties or red carpet events unless they are related to her work.

This low-key approach to life has allowed Hillier to balance her career with her personal interests and hobbies. It also adds an intriguing level of mystery to her public persona, making her all the more fascinating as a character within the fashion world.

8. Her Environmental Activism

Alongside her love for animals, Hillier also has a strong commitment toward environmental activism. She is particularly concerned about the fashion industry’s impact on the environment and is an advocate for the use of sustainable materials in fashion.

Her label, Hillier Bartley, is known for its use of eco-friendly materials and methods. Hillier’s commitment to eco-conscious fashion proves that it is indeed possible to marry luxury with sustainability, setting an excellent example for future fashion trends.

9. Mentorship Role

Katie Hillier takes her role as a mentor very seriously. She believes in sharing her success and helping nurture the next generation of talent. She is always supportive of up-and-coming designers, often providing guidance and advice to help them navigate the fashion industry.

Her mentorship extends beyond just advice; she has also been known to create opportunities for young designers in her studios, allowing them to gain hands-on experience and learn from her directly.

10. Her Signature Look

Known for her effortless style, Katie Hillier has a signature look that is both striking and comfortable. She frequently leans towards minimalistic, well-tailored, classic pieces but always adds an element of quirk, usually through her accessories.

Her personal signature style has often influenced the designs she creates for her own label and collaborations with other brands. The result is clothing and accessories that echo her personal style – pieces that are classic, comfortable, and always contain a little something special.

Few designers have had such an influence on the accessory world as Katie Hillier. Delving into the above ten factors, which, in part, shaped her life and career, we emerge with a greater appreciation for her work and the woman behind it.

Discover more about Katie Hillier’s career so far in this Vogue profile.
Explore Hillier Bartley’s latest collections here.
Here’s Harper Bazaar’s introduction to the Hillier Bartley brand.