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An O Hat Journey

Creativity galore, in so many dimensions, brought Tricia Hamilton to patent a design of a fabulous new concept hat called the “O” hat. O as in “object of desire.”O as in “obvious choice.” O as in “obstacles to overcome.”

From a struggle in her early education when she could not pass her exams due to undiagnosed/unknown dyslexia to graduating first among a class of 30 in her master’s teaching degree, Tricia is a true problem solver.

Her early passions included hats, working with anything that involved her hands, math, and physics. This is quite an eclectic array ofleft and right brain interests. Though she formally gave up the arts to focus on math and physics, Tricia quickly returned to elementary and middle school teaching where she could indulge her creativity more broadly.

Early in her adult life, she traveled with her husband far and wide internationally. After receiving her certification in English as a Second Language, she taught English to Chinese, Vietnamese and any other nationalities enrolled in the various schools in each country where she lived and taught. Notable homes included Bahrain, Algeria, Paris and Hong Kong where she ultimately raised her two children.

Never one to teach just from a book, Tricia created exciting, three-dimensionallessons for the school children. School plays required costumes and hats of course which Tricia made. To immerse the children in one book in Hong Kong, she had the class build a sampan from which the students could role play. Another example were the poems children wrote and then put to music by her colleague. Tricia again made costumes and hats for their poem performance.

Focused mainly on her family and teaching, Tricia’s hunger for creative outlets led her to enroll in a class making detailed, complex lace patterns. She learned so quickly that within a few months she could do any stitch of any design and incorporated this skill into her hats.

Upon returning to the UK, Tricia looked for her next creative adventure. One day, her daughter asked her to make a fascinator for a wedding occurring the next day. Within 24 hours, Tricia had a design, material, and a finished fascinator ready for her daughter. You would think the biggest challenge would be perhaps a last-minute design or finding the unique color to match her daughter’s shoes or finding the exact materials needed. These were simple for Tricia. What was difficult to solve was how to complete a head decoration with only the 12 inches of thread her daughter gave her. Sweet success. Her hat business was born!

With a compassion and empathy for people with serious illnesses, Tricia made hats for cancer patients who often lose their hair who find British winters or going out difficult. Making beautiful hats and selling them in a hospice center, a patient mentioned how the seams in the hat hurt her sensitive scalp. Another obstacle to overcome for Tricia! The initial solution was to make a liner for the hat to prevent the seams of the hat from touching the scalp. After six weeks of many iterations, Tricia had such a lining.

Tricia showed her lining to a friend who exclaimed, “this is not a lining, this is a unique hat and should be patented.” The patent office turned our intrepid Tricia down since no one had ever patented a hat. Plan B was to register the hat design, but the “O” hat has an almost unlimited number of styles which made registering all of them a challenge.

Our undaunted problem solver hired an intellectual property solicitor, who in 18 months, with Tricia’s help, was able to obtain the first hat patent in the UK.

Made of soft fabrics, the “O” hat gets styled once upon your head, allowing you to turn up the edges, pull down the corners, turn it inside out for a different shape, fold the extra fabric into exquisite folds to add softness to your face or just pull it straight on as many men do. A further creative spin on the design is to have either an open or closed crown, allowing additional styles to be created on your head. For women, this is a fashion show in one hat with an ability to sport a different look every day.

Not content to have a unique, patented hat that both men and women will wear, as well helping cancer patients, Tricia started working on various embellishments for her hat. These include broaches and strings.

The “O” hat currently is available in eight colors and in several fabrics. The various jerseys are wonderful for casual wear. The organza is a bit dressier as is the chenille.

What I did not know, and perhaps will surprise you as well, is that only 20% of people can wear symmetrical hats like fedoras, trilby's, panamas, homburgs, bowlers, boaters, etc. This is because most of our faces are not symmetrical, and these hats look a bit “off” on most people. However, everyone can wear the “O” hat which is asymmetrical. All this starting at £30.

Rejoice people. O as in “obsession.” O as in “outrageous.” O as in “OMG.”

See some of Tricia's creations below...


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