Hat Doctor has the Derby fashion remedy

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A New York native who has made WAVE Country her permanent home fell hard and fast for the splendor of the Kentucky Derby. That love got her creative juices flowing. Now known as the “Hat Doctor,” Ilana Kogan made hats for Miss Maryland last year, Miss Kentucky this year, and is now a ‘Featured Milliner of Kentucky Derby 148′.

“She has embroidered pieces, hats, fascinators, and hatinators,” Rodeo Drive Fashion Stylist Christine Lund said.

From ethereal feathers to beautiful butterflies, Derby divas are flocking to the Hat Doctor’s comfortable and blingy headbands and hats.

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“She is a hat doctor,” Rodeo Drive Vice President Michelle Tasman said. “Her hats are amazing, and I feel like they are better every single year and people have been coming in more this year than ever asking for the Hat Doctor!”

Kogan is now an official Kentucky Derby milliner, and her works are showcased in magazines, all because to a meticulous business strategy: packing.

“Goodnight, hat,” Hudson, Kogan’s 3-year-old son, said as he placed a hat inside a box. Meanwhile, Gracie, who is five years old, leads the shipping division.

“Put a sticker on your hat,” Kogan guided her, “great job!”

“Now, everyone is sleeping through the night,” Kogan laughed, “almost potty trained, so we are full blast!”

Her clients ask how she manages to keep up with two small children, make hundreds of gorgeous fascinators for famous stores like Rodeo Drive, and maintain an Etsy store. Not to mention, she is a licensed doctor.

“I think it’s wonderful how she has two careers,” Rodeo Drive owner Raquel Koff said.

“People cannot believe I’m a real MD,” Kogan smiled, “they think I’m just doctoring hats, which I kind of am when I’m making them, but yes, I am a physician.”

WAVE caught up with Priority Radiology’s full-time radiologist to learn how she juggles it all.

“I read X-rays, mammograms, CTs, MRIs,” she said.

Her coworkers were impressed when they learned about her side hustle.

“Not many doctors have that artistic side of their brain,” Dr. Lori Haycraft, a radiologist at Priority Radiology, laughed, “usually we are just all science. … She’s amazing, she’s the whole package.”

Kogan’s hat journey began in 2005, when she moved from Queens, N.Y. to Louisville to attend University of Louisville Medical School.

“My older sister is a physician as well and she lived here first and she said, ‘You have to come here this is the greatest place ever,’” Kogan explained. “So I came, and I totally loved it.”

When the self-described crafty doctor was invited to the Kentucky Derby, she made all of her friends’ hats and fascinators.

“You can’t wear the same hat twice,” she recalled, “so the following year I sold them all on eBay and thought I was rich, especially as a student!”

Even during her residency and fellowship, she kept it going to help pay off thousands of dollars in student loans. She said she doesn’t know how she still finds enough time to create so many hats.

“I love it so much, I make time,” she said. “Basically, when the kids are in bed and I’m done doing what I need to do around the house, I put on some Real Housewives, get a glass of wine, and I get to work at night.“

Her technicolor workroom for all the beautiful Derby hats and fascinators, as well as being a seasonal business, helps.

“I love color,” she said. “I stare at black and white images all day. I love color; I need some color in my life.”

To view Kogan’s creations or purchase a hat or fascinator, click here.

Copyright 2022 WAVE. All rights reserved.

Connie Leonard

Connie Leonard

Connie Leonard is a Troubleshooter investigative reporter at WAVE News.