For centuries the town of Battle in East Sussex has attracted visitors to the site where the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066, but today a new attraction will open its doors. The Henna and Hat Lady, a hat shop selling individually designed hats and outfits created for exclusively for Steampunks, Goths and the alternative community, opens on Thursday 6 December, in Battle’s High Street.
The Henna and Hat Lady is the vision of Church Mission Society pioneer, hat maker and henna artist, Emma Moreton. As a lay member of the CMS pioneer community, Emma uses her creative skills to produce tailored outfits for the steampunk community, building relationships and sparking conversations with people who are unlikely to be in a church.
Summed up by the phrase “what the past would look like if the future had happened sooner”, Steampunk is characterised by futuristic and mechanical designs, commonly set against a backdrop from the Victorian age. Steampunk designs are the embodiment of science fiction, fantasy, industrial and horror themes.
Emma said: “The opening of The Henna and Hat Lady is so exciting as it provides a place where people can see our hats on display. We hope our hats will attract everybody, from Goths to the Mothers’ Union, and add to the rich history of Battle through the ages.”
Emma‘s interest in steampunk and alternative culture began in 2012 when she was commissioned to make hats for people she had met through the local bonfire society network. Her business quickly grew and she now makes a wide variety of hats featuring eclectic designs with centrepieces ranging from dragons and hares, to birds and pirates.
Emma continued, “Belonging to Church Mission Society’s pioneer community has provided a safe context where we can develop our work of engaging and connecting with a community that many in the church view with scepticism.”
Andrea Campanale, pioneer network developer at Church Mission Society said: “This new venture is just one way in which CMS pioneers are seeking to engage with people who would describe themselves as spiritual but not religious. It’s a fantastic way to demonstrate that, as made in God’s image, we can be both creative and playful. CMS pioneers believe 'an adventure of the imagination' can lead one closer to the Creator of the Universe, rather than further away.”