Fashion Designer Claire Featherstone has been awarded the Best Cancer Hair Loss Product prize for her hat company, Chemo Headwear, at the inaugural Spotlight Awards by Live Better With.
Chemo Headwear is committed to helping anyone going through chemotherapy and other medical hair loss issues. Their beautiful headscarves, bandannas, turbans and hats are made lovingly by hand.
The 46-year-old mother from Lodsworth has always had a passion for design and textiles. Following a degree in Textiles Management at Leeds University, she spent 20 years working as a mass market clothing importer and becoming a director of a very successful business.
“Then I decided that I wanted more hands-on with the fabric again so I decided to start making one-off bespoke dresses for people,” Claire explained.
The designer launched Featherstone Frocks, creating stunning, one of a kind dresses for her special clients. Then one day, one of her dress clients, (Lucy O’Donnell, author of Cancer is my Teacher) approached her with a new request. She was starting chemotherapy but was shocked by the hats that were on offer for cancer patients. “She said ‘there is nothing even half decent out there to wear on my head, it’s all polyester and horrible, will you try and make something?’”
So Claire came up with a few turban patterns and also some headscarves and bandanas for the author.
“I realised there was obviously a need for a hat that is nice, that you want to wear, that’s quick and easy to put on, comfortable and made from natural fabric. Rather than hats that are mass produced and made from bad quality fabric,” said the 46-year-old.
And so in 2014, Chemo Headwear was born. Chemo Headwear uses high-quality, natural fabrics for people living with cancer and hair loss and every item is handmade by Claire. Her favourite design is the stunning Evie Hat, which comes in various styles.
So why is helping cancer patients so important to Claire? “Having lost both my parents to cancer by the time I hit my early twenties it is a subject I feel strongly about.
“I love meeting people giving them advice – I’m quite good at knowing what colours look right. I do come up to London quite a bit to different cancer centres and hospitals where I will go and meet patients and have a good old trying on session.”
She continued: “Of course, some people need privacy if they’re bald, but by the end of the session, they’re whipping the scarves on and off and are suddenly much more confident. You can see their confidence grow just in that small amount of time I spend with them.
“I am glad I can help. I am not a doctor, so I can’t help with anything medical, but I can do this and I feel like I am giving back to the community. It’s the little things – like looking good that can really help in the midst of all the doctors appointments and chemo appointments. It gives them the much-needed confidence they might have lost. Everyone feels better if they are looking good.”
Wanting to really make a difference, a percentage of Chemo Headwear’s sales are donated to a local Macmillan centre in Midhurst.
“I was very keen to give back to MacMillan because they were incredibly supportive to me and my mother when my father died and then with me when my mother died.”
On winning her inaugural Spotlight Award by Live Better With, Claire said: “I am really, really pleased. I don’t think I’ve ever won an award before. It’s probably the first thing I’ve won since I won my textiles prize in school! I am very proud and pleased that I am making a difference. I think the awards are a really great idea too!”
Well done, Claire! We are proud to stock some of the Chemo Headwear range which can be purchased here.
The first of its kind, the Spotlight Awards shine a light on the achievements of truly remarkable people, products, and services in the cancer community. Nominated by the public, and voted by a panel of expert judges, the winners are from all walks of life, of all ages, and from across the world.
The Spotlight Awards have been organised by Live Better With, an award-winning online platform where cancer patients and their loved ones can find products and information to help with the symptoms and side effects of living with cancer.
See the full list of Spotlight Award winners here.