“When we wear hats we do feel different, they can really change our image.”
What's in a name?
So often people laugh (which is lovely!) and then ask how did we think of the name ‘Suburban Turban’? It all makes good sense really – having trained as a milliner at Chelsea and London College of Fashion and worked under the name of Nicky Zip for 10 years – I was already making the sort of ‘celebration’ hats you would associate with Ascot and summer weddings. (In 2005 Nicky Zip won ‘Best Hat’ at Lingfield Ladies Day and my hats have appeared in ‘Hello!’ magazine.)
It was through this work that I got involved with GRACE (Gynae-oncology Research and Clinical Excellence – see link) at The Royal Surrey hospital, helping them to fundraise with a charity fashion show. At the show I met women who were looking for something pretty and fashionable to wear whilst going through chemotherapy treatment hair loss. They were finding it hard to find headwear that was comfortable, stylish and didn’t make them feel like ‘a patient’. They wanted ‘normality’ for the sake of their self esteem and for all their loved ones around them. At the time I thought I would go in search of a brand and offer it as part of the Nicky Zip service.
I couldn’t find one. I couldn’t find just the right sort of hats in London….or Milan…. or Paris…so what to do? At this point the lovely folk at the Fountain Centre (based at The Royal Surrey Hospital) got involved and allowed me to come along and talk to women undergoing treatment, to hear what they wanted to wear. A big thank you to all the women who chatted to me about their chemo headwear in those early weeks.
When we wear hats we do feel different – they can really change our image. Women feel ‘different’ enough with hair loss, so my ideal hat(s) had to be all about fitting in and blending in – at the supermarket, at the school gate, walking the dog – in short every situation that glorious suburbia throws at us 365 days a year.
So there is the thinking behind the name – wearable headwear for everyday… and the name was catchy too! I hope you like the range and they serve you well. Infact I hope they do a little more than that – they lift your day and help you manage your hair loss feeling pretty and confident.
Dina Rabinovitch - breast cancer hair loss
I came across an article entitled ‘Battle Dress’, written by a journalist called Dina Rabinovitch back in February 2005. The article was eloquent and witty, writing for Vogue she explored all the options of what to wear following a mastectomy op. She wanted stylish, even glamorous items to wear – words at that time I hadn’t seen associated with hair loss in women before, and talked of Missoni scarves, Issey Miyake and M & S pyjamas! Silky soft fabrics that embraced the body, in attractive fashion colours. (The full article can be found on this link http://www.shopwellwithyou.org/resources.cfm – along with a host of other really useful information articles.)
I had at most 5 minutes to read it in the dentist’s waiting room before I was called. For some reason the article stayed with me, so much so that over a week later I found myself back at the dentist, retrieving the magazine from the bin! (The receptionist was very understanding!) I thought it all seemed sort of obvious, I’d been making hats for awhile and yes, I knew they could be stylish, bold, and fun to wear. But I was missing the point – practical guidance on how to select, how to wear, and how to carry it off in everyday ‘suburbia’ is something lots of women find difficult, with or without female hair loss. So the first early ideas of designing a hat collection specifically for women with hair loss and providing an online service began to form, and the rest as they say is history!