5 Minutes with Chemo Headwear | Your Cancer Services

03 April 2020 - by David Allen

We recently got in touch with Claire, the founder of Chemo Headwear, who makes beautiful handmade headscarves, bandannas, turbans or hats from her home in Sussex. Chemo Headwear help women across the UK and are committed to helping anyone going through chemotherapy and dealing with hairloss issues. Despite the current climate, Claire is able to fulfil any orders as she works safely from home and is available for telephone and email consultations. Here we find out more…

So tell us a little about Chemo Headwear…

In 2012, I was making bespoke dresses under the label Featherstone Frocks when one of my lovely dress clients asked me if I could make some turbans & bandannas for her as she was going through chemotherapy. Since then I have been approached by many other ladies who wanted something pretty, luxurious and a bit more “high end” than the products currently available out there.  Having lost both my parents to cancer in my early twenties I am very much aware of the needs of cancer patients and felt I wanted to create a business that used my fashion knowledge whilst giving back to my local Macmillan who I donate a percentage of all my sales to. This was how Chemo Headwear was born. I run the business from my beautiful cottage in West Sussex where I make all the headwear and I welcome visitors to come for a private consultation.

What type of fabrics do you use?

I have a degree in textiles and I’m passionate about fabrics which is why I have selected the finest quality fabrics and feel strongly that only natural fabrics will do – no sweaty polyesters here! Only natural fabrics are breathable & wickable which will keep you warm in Winter and cool in Summer.   

How did you go about designing them and how are they worn?

Well I also wanted to create something that was quick and easy to put on and I realised that a traditional square headscarf can be very daunting to learn to tie. I set about designing a ready-tied headscarf to flatter every face shape. It is cut in 3 panels which gives extra height above the face. I find most of my ladies turn back the front panel to give more height, but it can also be pushed back flat to give more of a bandanna type effect. It has a small elasticated section at the back but also has a flattering tie – belt & braces!

And who are they for?

This is the style for anyone who wants to wear a pretty headscarf but doesn’t want to have the hassle of learning to tie a square one, and it is completely secure on your head, alleviating the worry that a regular headscarf might slip or blow away. This style can be put on and tied in seconds and can be taken on and off already tied if you are post-operative and raising your hands to fiddle with headscarves isn’t so easy. I make them in cashmere, silk, Liberty print cottons, embroidered cottons, cotton checks and have recently collaborated with a fashion designer.

What styles do they come in?

I soon expanded the range to included stretchy hats and turbans as I realised these were what a lot of people found most comfortable. I have several hat styles available on my website from turbans to beanies to sparkly sequins. I make all my stretchy hat styles in a range of plain bamboo fabric as well as a large selection of gorgeous Liberty prints.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I run an online business which I love as I am always doing different things from designing and making hats to sourcing new fabrics to writing articles for magazines to talking to various charities about how I can work with them. No two days are the same! But what I really enjoy most is meeting ladies and helping them find headwear that they feel most comfortable in and that suits their personality and personal style.

I love running workshops (often in Macmillan Centres) so that ladies can meet in a small group and learn new ways to tie scarves, see what suits them by trying on different shapes, styles, colours and prints of headwear and often sharing chemotherapy tips and making new friends. As I mentioned before I welcome people to my house for a private consultation if they are relatively local and want a break from all the medical appointments. I can also offer lots of advice over the phone on what might suit them best so please don’t be worried about giving me a call or sending me an email (I have quite a few people send me photos of themselves so I can make a few headwear suggestions). I’m a one-man band so super small and friendly.

Do you have any customer testimonials?

I have a whole section of testimonials on my website, all taken from emails I have received over the years – yet another reason that I love running Chemo Headwear.

And finally… Can you describe Chemo Headwear in 3 words?

Made with love.

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