International Millinery Forum, it’s a wrap!

After two years of planning and commitment from our team, the International Millinery Forum (IMF) 2014 was held in Wagga Wagga from 12 – 17 January and has been marked as another huge success.

IMF is a major project for Tilma Group, led by Tourism and Events Executive Lisa Cameron. It is an initiative of Riverina Millinery Association and is thankfully only held every second year, as it takes an enormous amount of planning and coordination to pull it all together.

As always it was a fun filled week of events and activities, with over 200 milliners from throughout the world. Hands on workshops and slideshows at Wagga Wagga High School, hat parades, cocktail parties and gala dinners are held throughout the City and a trading day at the Wagga RSL Club.

Despite the heatwave (we are talking 45+ degrees every day!) and exhaustion Tilma had a blast. Working with world-class milliners and traders makes for a load of fun and excitement (and certainly some headaches and frustrations at time).


Looking back at the week that was, Tilma highlights include:

Sunday – Registration Day

Busiest start ever!

This is a massive day, with a long program of events. The buzz of the Trade Expo, getting to know International Guest and Royal Milliner Jane Taylor at a public function, the Wagga Wagga City Council Mayoral Reception and never to be seen again tutor hat parade (wow!) , and the lovely addition of local Wiradjuri  man Dane Simpson playing the didgeridoo.

It certainly was a big day for the team, but so much fun and a great start to the week ahead.

Monday – Workshops commence

Hot hot heat! Need we say more. The air conditioners were pumping, the Big Springs water was spread far and wide and indoors was the place to be.

After settling everyone into classes it was now up to our elected tutors to wave their magic, and that is exactly what they did.

So much colour, excitement and laughter.

Tuesday – time to recoup!

Despite the dreadful heat and long days Linda and Lisa decided that they needed to debrief and recoup thoughts and energy, with a run around Lake Albert to end another long day. It is very important to do this when you are focused on a project so intensely and for a long period of time – thoughts were gathered, ideas composed and the team is now ready for the end of the week.

Wednesday – Wagga Wagga meet the milliners

This was a very exciting day for the event and the City of Wagga Wagga. In the planning stages Tilma was successful in forming a great partnership with Wagga City Council, which led to a series of public events and appearances. One of the highlights was certainly the Marketplace Parade held on the Wednesday. This was a ten out of ten event, with the sponsors, community and organisers all extremely happy with the result – it could not have gone any better!

Thursday – almost there

It was time to start cleaning up and preparing for the mass exodus from Wagga High School, but before then it is critical that we spend some time in the workshops and appreciate what the delegates and tutors are excited about.

The passion, excitement, colour and laughter were contagious – should we start millinery?

Friday – risk assessment put to the test

After a risk free week it all happened on the last day.

A gas leak and evacuation was certainly not on the run sheet, but Lisa handled it extremely well. All within 15-20 minutes it was in hand, everyone was safe and they were back into classes. The lesson here is the significance of what many think is a waste of plan – Risk Management plan and Evacuation Plan!

It’s a wrap! The International Millinery Forum is done and dusted for another year and Tilma Group can quietly recover. We will certainly stay in touch with the wonderful friends we made from around the world and look forward to seeing everyone again in another 2 years!

We must acknowledge the great supporters and sponsors of this event.

Bernina Australia – thank you to Greg, Kerry and Bree

Wagga City Council

Hatters Millinery Supplies

Riverina Community College

Quest Apartments

Wagga Wagga Marketplace

Hat Magazine

Judith M Millinery Supply House

Plush Hair & Beauty

Finally, a very warm thank you to the IMF 2014 Ambassador Anna Mott. It was a pleasure to meet and work with her on this amazing event!

Happy hatting friends!

For further details in the International Millinery Forum click here

For further details on the Riverina Millinery Association click here

For further details on Wagga Wagga click here

To view and order photos from the 2014 event click here

We also encourage you to check out the blog of Anna Mott, the IMF 2014 ambassador.