Trend Watch: Hipsters are wearing fishing lures in their hair now

Senior Editor
06.07.11 27 Comments

Disclaimer: this post isn’t really movie-related, but in my defense, movie news can be really boring.  So apparently the new hot thing among hipsters is wearing fishing lures in your hair (the ones with feathers, specifically).  It combines conspicuously unappealing fashion trends with co-opting blue collar culture so it’s perfect.

Fly-fishing shops nationwide, he learned, are at the center of the latest hair trend: Feather extensions. Supplies at stores from the coasts of Maine to landlocked Idaho are running out and some feathers sold online are fetching hundreds of dollars more than the usual prices.
Fly fishermen are not happy, bemoaning the trend in online message boards and sneering at so-called “feather ladies.” Some also blame “American Idol” judge and rocker Steven Tyler, who began wearing the feathers in his long hair.

DEY GENTRIFIED YER JOB! And now for the money quote:

“It takes years and years and years to develop these chickens to grow these feathers. And now, instead of ending up on a fly, it’s going into women’s hair,” said Matt Brower, a guide and assistant manager at Idaho Angler in Boise.

I want to marry that blockquote. “We bred these chickens specifically for our antiquated method of hobby fishing, not something frivolous!”  And now for the Huh, I Never Knew That part:

They come from roosters that are genetically bred and raised for their plumage. In most cases, the birds do not survive the plucking.
At Whiting Farms Inc., in western Colorado, one of the world’s largest producers of fly tying feathers, the roosters live about a year while their saddle feathers — the ones on the bird’s backside and the most popular for hair extensions — grow as long as possible. Then the animal is euthanized.
As hair extensions, the feathers can be brushed, blow dried, straightened and curled once they are snapped into place. Most salons sell the feather strands for $5 to $10 a piece. The trend has become so popular a company online even sells feather extensions for dogs.

Feather extensions for dogs?  Pics or it didn’t happen.

The craze has also left hairstylists scrambling to find rooster saddle feathers, as fly shops hold onto a select few for their regular customers. The businesses will now ask if the feathers are for hairdressing, said Shelley Ambroz, who owns MiraBella Salon and Spa in Boise.
“If you go in and you’re a woman, they won’t sell to you,” said Ambroz, who started to eye her husband’s fly-fishing gear after stores ran out. “He told me to stay out of his feathers,” she said.


Bernstein’s inventory of rooster saddle feathers has long been depleted. About three weeks ago, he dusted off a rooster neck with feathers that had been set aside for fly tying classes at the shop. The neck would have normally cost $29.95, but the shop sold it for $360.
It’s not uncommon to find a package of rooster saddle feathers that would have cost around $60 at a fly shop now priced from $200 to $400.
A package of the most popular fly tying hackle for hair extensions, a black and white striped feather called grizzly saddle, would normally retail anywhere from $40 to $60. It sold for $480 on eBay last month after 31 bids.

Finding out that there’s such a thing as a “grizzly saddle,” but it’s a fishing lure was one of the most disappointing moments of my life.

On a recent Tuesday evening, Emilee Rivers, 16, sifted through a pile of rooster saddle feathers looking for the perfect strands to frame her face. She picked out four and handed them to the stylist, who bonded them together with hot glue before clipping them into Rivers’ blond hair.
Brandi Wheeler, 16, was next. There’s only one other girl at Borah High School in Boise who has the feather extensions, the teenagers said.
Now, they were joining the select few.
“I’ve wanted to get them for quite a while,” Rivers said. [SeattleTimes]

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I was an expert on Idaho before writing this post, but to me it felt like that entire article was written from inside Napoleon Dynamite.

“You want to buy some fishing lures to help me raise money for college? ”

“I already made like infinity of those at scout camp.”



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