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Gina Ritchie runs Xazha Ltd
I’ve been creative with fabric for as long as I can remember. My mum made many outfits and is an avid crafter so I was always encouraged to experiment with fabrics and crafting bits and pieces. Once I grew out of dressing my dolls, my baby sister was the perfect ‘model’ for my creations and experiments! This passion grew during my school years, and I went on to study fashion at the International Fashion Design School in Johannesburg. I loved South Africa, and I was establishing myself as a designer of wedding and prom dresses, but living with the constant threat of violent crime and job insecurity was too much, and after my husband was made redundant we decided to join his family in the UK. We moved to Rugby, Warwickshire in 2000. It was a very difficult decision, leaving my own wonderful family to start a new life in a very different environment, but the UK quickly became my new home.
Xazha Ltd was born out of a lifelong love of fashion and the pain of watching a close friend struggle with chemotherapy and hair loss. When she told me she had breast cancer I felt helpless. I wanted my friend to look great and feel confident so I put my fashion qualifications to good use and began making hats and headscarves. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was that I could provide her with some relief when I presented her with some stylish headwear options. This is when I thought that I could provide stylish headwear to others in a similar situation.