Derry designer John Paul is taking to the hatwalk

John Paul Gormley
John Paul Gormley

Hats off to designer John Paul Gormley.

There is no better way to show off your talent than using it to raise money for charity.

And the local milliner will be doing just that when his latest collection is showcased at an event tonight to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.

Hatwalk happens annually in parts of the country as part of the charity’s ‘Wear a hat day’. But this year, for the first time it will also take place in Derry.

The event will showcase the best of Irish millinery, including the launch of the latest collection by John Paul.

And with the opportunity to raise vital funds for charity, the honour of being instrumental in organising the event could not be greater for him.

“Hatwalk has never been held anywhere else in Northern Ireland and with the City of Culture it couldn’t have happened in a better year. It is a great platform for me to showcase my work in my home town”.

He decided to take his inspiration from the City of Culture for his new collection, which includes a mixture of eight dresses and hats.

It was only after he was approached to take part in the event that he realised how many people were affected by brain tumours, including people in his own family.

“I found it really surprising how brain tumours affect people much closer to home than you think. Through doing this event I have discovered that people in my own family have had brain tumours. It’s also very surprising to see how many younger people are affected by brain tumours”.

Brain Tumour Research receives less than 1% of national cancer research spending in the UK, yet this deadly disease kills more children and people under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

The annual ‘Wear a Hat Day’ and Hatwalk events are a fun way of increasing awareness about the condition and getting people to raise money for an often overlooked form of cancer.

The next generation of local milliners were also invited to get involved in the Hatwalk event through a special design competition. The entrants had to submit a hat design inspired by City of Culture.

John Paul told the ‘Journal’ that eleven of the entries will appear at Hatwalk later tonight and the winner of the competition will be announced.

A raffle will also be held to raise funds during Hatwalk with many exciting prizes on offer and fashionistas also have the chance to get their hands on a hat designed by milliner to the stars, Phillip Treacy. John Paul hopes the event will raise in the region of £1,000 for Brain Tumour Research. All money raised will be spent in Northern Ireland with dontations going to Brainwaves, the local organisation which offers support to brain tumour patients and their families.

Hatwalk takes place tonight at 8pm in the Everglades Hotel. Tickets are still available at John Paul Couture Fashion & Millinery, 45F Great James Street and at the door.