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Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside

Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside

Promanading on Brighton beach is nothing without a hat! So it was with this in mind a few of us decided to take a trip to the seaside to showcase hats by the designer Off With Her Head, I also caught up with her afterwards to find out more about how she came about making them:

Amaranth: Tell me how your interest in hats began.
Queeny: I’ve loved hats since I was a little girl… I can remember the first hat that my Mum bought from me on holiday in Cornwall in the late 80’s. It was a black floppy velvet hat with 2 satin roses, one white, one baby blue, on the pinned back brim. I also remember that one year in High School I decided to wear a straw hat for the year, much to the amusement of some of my class mates. So when I wanted to find a Victorian Style Riding Hat to wear at the Whitby Gothic Weekend I guess it was no surprise to anyone who knew me…

A: What made you move from making for yourself to turning into a business?
Q: It all sort of happened by accident really… I wasn’t able to find myself that perfect Victorian Style Riding Hat at a price that was affordable so I decided to make one… I got myself a good quality fancy dress top hat, tonnes of veiling and ribbon and black roses and created my perfect hat! At the time I was running White Rabbit, a pagan supplies business and had a stall at Whitby. I wore my hat on the Friday and was asked so many times where I got my hat from that I decided on the Saturday to start taking orders from people… I went home with over 30 orders! It all just spiralled from there…

A: You say that you can find a hat to suit almost any person, describe some hats and which type of people you think they would suit.
Q: There is so much to consider when matching a person to their perfect hat. I look at face shape, height, colours… For example I wouldn’t want to overpower someone short with a huge hat, I’d usually recommend a really pretty fascinator. Pill Boxes and Mini Tophats can work for most face shapes, but it really all comes down to confidence. It is so important to wear what you feel comfortable and confident in. When you’re confident in what you’re wearing it radiates!

A: To someone who has never worn a hat before, what would be your advice?
Q: Don’t be afraid to give it a try… a good hat will make any outfit special!


A: In fashion history, what has been your favourite era and why?
Q: I am a huge fan of the 40’s/50’s. I think this is again because it’s the era that I feel comfortable and confident wearing… I’m pear shaped and the circle skirts are really flattering for my shape, and of course I need hats to match my outfits!! I love the elegance that came with the Dior New Look, there’s something very womanly about knowing how to use your curves. But really I have a love for vintage fashion whatever the era… I plan to create unique designs and replica hats to cover every era from Medieval to Modern!

A: Do you think the hat still has a place in modern society?
Q: YES Definitely! I’m so pleased to see more hats on the high street… the reintroduction of the Trilby to modern fashion a few years ago and the increasing trend for feathered fascinators at weddings has demonstrated that hats are here to stay!

A: What materials do you use to construct your hats?
My hats are now constructed from Buckram, a technique that I learned only last year, before this I was just using a basic fabric stiffener. I’ll work with a variety of fabrics depending on what style of hat I’m making. Some of the modern printed cottons around are amazing to work with producing unusual and eye-catching pieces. Then for my vintage replicas I’ll search out traditional fabrics such as silk dupion and floral patterned lace. I also source very high quality wool felt bases for some of my mini top hats.

A: What has proved to be your most popular design and why?
Q: The original Victorian Style Riding Hat has always done well for me, every year I make a small batch and they always sell out… I really should consider making it a stock line! I think it’s because it appeals to the girls in the Goth scene, all black, goes with anything and because I still keep my costs reasonable, last year they retailed for £40.

A: What has been your personal favourite that you have made to date?
Q: That is such a hard one for me to make a decision on… the problem I have with making so many lovely hats is that I end up with a hat box full of ones for me. It’s a case of one for me… 3 for the website!! If I had to pick one though… then it has to be the Betty Pill Box… a new design for me this year based on a vintage hat pattern. It came together so perfectly and I found amazing vintage 50’s plastic bows to finish off the hats. I was just so pleased with the finished piece!!

A: Do you plan on branching out into any other accessory or remain specialising in hats?
Q: I love making hats… it’s definitely my passion! I’m currently working on a vintage bridal range of hats and fascinators. I’m considering making some different hair accessories such as flowers and 50’s style head scarves. I also collect Blythe Dolls (I have 3 to date) and want to create even smaller miniature versions of my hats for Blythe!

A: Do you do custom orders?
Q: YES of course! I have just finished a commission for a customer to wear to Ladies Day at Royal Ascot, that was such a thrill for me! Prior to that I was commissioned to make a Purple Victorian Style Riding Hat for a customer to wear to the Colour of Magic Premiere in London. I’ll do custom work for anyone. I really enjoy creating one of a kind pieces, just contact me with your ideas at


Photos by Gothindulgence

Published in Alt Fashion