Curious Trends

08/08/2011

Hair art in contemporary design and accessories


Jewellery made with hair dates back to at least the 1600s, when hair bracelets were given as tokens of love by both men and women. In Victorian times, hair jewellery and mementoes became popular items of remembrance – in keeping with the elaborate mourning rituals of the time. Hair art is currently undergoing something of a revival – based upon hair’s common availability and natural, eco-friendly credentials, as well as its ability to replace other, more expensive, and/or artificial materials.



Newly graduating RCA student, Alexander Groves, has created fashion items made using hair extensions sourced from an African hairdressing specialist in Dalston. As the price of raw silk is soaring, he sees human hair as a viable alternative. His ‘fashion extensions’ are inspired by a visit to Kylesha township in South Africa, where the abundance of hair salons offers 'an opportunity for existing hair weaving skills to be adapted to make products that can be sold to a wider market.'

In collaboration with Azusa Murakami, Groves has also created a collection of sustainable fashion eyewear from human hair and eco-friendly resin - the aim being to expand the use of hair from China outside and beyond the beauty industry.


Dari Bae’s series ‘Chandelier: Hair Filament’ inserts human hair in place of the traditional light source, “as hair is yet another mechanism where power has been asserted throughout history. In 1895, for instance, the Japanese cut Koreans’ hair as part of its colonial program and during WWII, the Nazi’s ‘de-humanized’ Jews by shaving their heads upon entry to concentration camps. While it has been a tool of oppression, hair’s ability to re-grow makes it a symbol of hope as well, a tangible expression of the human spirit’s enduring strength to persevere in the face of adversity.”


Human hair is increasingly being used for hair accessories, such as hair bands and arty hair pieces.


Kerry Howley, a jewellery student from Cambridge, has created a collection of intricate handmade necklaces called Attraction/Aversion made from human hair (as reported by PSFK).

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