David Shilling was born in London's West End, and went to St Paul's School in London. In 1976, Shilling opened his first shop in London selling a variety of things designed by him. It was an instant success. On the second day of opening, one client alone ordered 24 hats.
His first collection was bought by Bloomingdale's and the next by Bloomingdale's, Bergdorf's and Nieman Marcus in the USA. His private clients kept him so busy that he then stopped the wholesaling.
His hats were shown in art galleries in Europe because they were recognised as works of Art. Following an exhibition at the Flowers Gallery in 1980, Ulster Museum set up an exhibition 'David Shilling - The Hats' in 1981 which went on tour of Museums and public Art Galleries in the UK. No other British designer has had such a long standing, successful tour