Turning heads with hats

A fabulous hat is a sure way to turn heads. Francesca Craggs speaks to award-winning milliner Deborah Haynes, whose stunning designs have given her a head start to success.

HATS have never been more popular, according to businesswoman turned milliner Deborah Haynes.

And the proof is clear. For despite harsh economic conditions, turnover in her thriving business is already up 15% this year.

Tired of the rat race, the former commercial director opted for a career change and enrolled in a millinery course six years ago. The decision paid off and Deborah soon launched Deborah Haynes Millinery, part of the Get Ahead Hats co-operative.

From the family farm in West Boldon, South Tyneside, she handcrafts an array of hats and fascinators, each unique and made to order. Designs take from 45 minutes to 20 hours to make.

Building on her success, Deborah recently won a top accolade in the World Skills UK millinery awards.

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She scooped gold for a modern brimless hat, designed with Frankie Dettori’s wife Catherine in mind.

She has furthered her skills by completing an HNC in millinery at Leeds College of Art & Design. Deborah takes inspiration from all aspects of life.

She said: “I see ideas in everything from flowers to fashion.”

She has created hats for a number of well known faces in the region and has customers as far afield as Edinburgh, York and even Jersey. Deborah’s designs have also graced racing events across the globe, from the Dubai World Cup to the Melbourne Cup in Australia.

“People are definitely getting braver when it comes to wearing hats. Designs are more modern and colours bolder. I still get a lot of ladies who say they don’t suit hats. I say there’s a hat for everyone. You just have to find the right shape and design.”

“When looking for a hat, always bring your outfit with you. Be open minded and try on as many different styles as possible.

“Don’t be influenced by other people. What suits them probably won’t suit you. And most importantly of all, you need to feel comfortable.”

Deborah Haynes Millinery, Scotts House Farm, Newcastle Road. Tel: (0191) 519-1601, email: deborahhaynes millinery@yahoo.com or visit www.getaheadhats.co.uk

Model: Melissa Crawford of AM Models, tel: (0191) 233-1420.

Hair: Jo Anderson Hair Design, Newcastle, tel: (0191) 233-2484.

Make-up: City Retreat Salon & Spa, Newcastle, tel: (0191) 230-1055.


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