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My Kent Style: Zara Carpenter

PUBLISHED: 18:50 09 May 2014 | UPDATED: 18:50 09 May 2014

Zara Carpenter in Rochester

Zara Carpenter in Rochester

Rikard Osterlund

The Rochester milliner shares her fashion secrets

Tell us a bit about you

My name is Zara Carpenter and, among other things, I make and design hats. I have been doing this for about six years now 
and making hats is what makes me happy: www.zaracarpenter.com.

What are you wearing?

Today I’m wearing a 1960’s houndstooth coat I bought in Fieldstaff Antiques in Rochester. I’ve tamed this with my favourite pair of socks, which feature 
a Frida Kahlo design, bought from an American company online, a grey dress from Next, grey tights from TK Maxx and brown shoes found in a Shelter charity shop (to which I added turquoise laces - leather twine bought from Hometown Fabric Shop, Rochester). My bag is 
from Paperchase and the earrings are 
from a stall at The Rochester Flea.

Today I look like this but tomorrow 
I will look quite different, I follow no particular trend or fashion, I just like beautiful things, colour, design, textures.

My hair is always cut into a sharp 
1920’s bob. Louise Brooks is one of 
my style heroes and I love the 20’s look.

Where do you live?

I live in Rochester with my husband and cat. We are happy here, it is close enough 
to London for his work (only 35 minutes 
on the High Speed) and we can get out 
into the countryside quickly on days off. Rochester has a large creative community, we are lucky to have friends involved in all aspects of the arts here so there is always something going on and something to see.

Where do you like to shop?

I am a charity shop shopper, you never know what treasures you will find and over the years I have found a few, including a gorgeous Lanvin dress and a cathedral-length wedding veil from about 1910 for only £5, which I wore at our wedding. I recommend Demelza 
and The Red Cross charity shops 
in Rochester for vintage goodies.

Fieldstaff Antiques is a shop 
full of delights, from clothes, hats, shoes, jewellery and even undies. 
I have collected a few stunning pieces from there over the 
years including a 1930’s red velvet evening dress I wore 
for our wedding party.

I am a firm believer that 
you do not have to spend lots of money to look good, you can find beautiful clothes cheaply. One of my favourite dresses was only 10p from a jumble sale.

I also buy goodies from Etsy an online community 
of shops, I have a wonderful collection of turbans bought on Etsy. n

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