Eugene Weekly : Fashion : 8.12.2010



Downtown Dress-Up

Feathered Friends Flocking to the new trend in hair style

Getting Undressed With a Crowd Old friends, New clothes and friendly nudity

Sidewalk Style


Feathered Friends
Flocking to the new trend in hair style
Words by Vanessa Salvia  |  Photo by Todd Cooper

Feather hair extensions by Aniela Parys

Birdies who want to jazz up their hair with color and style are singing a new song: feather hair extensions. The phenomenon is relatively new in Eugene, but by all accounts is causing a flap throughout much of the country. Stylists who offer feather hair extensions utilize the same tools used for regular hair extensions, but rather than inserting fake hair, they add feathers. Parrot feathers. Peacock feathers. Pheasant feathers. Any kind you want, any color, and as many as you want, with no permanent commitment required.

Aniela Parys, a local seamstress and designer who works out of Redoux Parlour, says she picked up the idea while in Boulder, Colo. “I just met someone who had some put in,” says Parys, “and I figured it out on my own.” A strand of hair is inserted into a crimp bead along with the feathers of choice. Then the crimp is squeezed shut with pliers and the shaft of the feather is trimmed away. The result is a swishy headdress of fluttery feathers that can be wild or mild. “People really like it because they get to pick out their own colors,” says Parys. “They can have as many beads as they want as long as they’ve got hair left to put them in.” 

Minimal cost has also helped the trend take wing. Parys says prices range from $6 to $8 per bead, with three to four feathers per bead. Putting them in takes mere minutes. The extensions grow out with your hair, and the beads slowly lose hair and slip out after about two months. Because many of the feathers used are for fly-fishing ties, they can even be washed along with the rest of your hair (but heat styling is not recommended). Parys says she began practicing on her friends before offering the service at Redoux and at her Saturday Market booth. “I’ve gone through 15 packages of 100 crimp beads since January,” she says.  

Lisa Sandow says the look is associated with the West Coast and has spread throughout the festival-going community, but her Midwestern friends are rockin’ it too. A year ago Sandow went to Burning Man and was using hair extension tools to add horsehair to her boyfriend’s hair. “I did a few feathers too at that time but had no idea that it was a lucrative thing, that it would become a trend.” Sandow thinks her hair extension clients perceive “a magic behind the feather,” and the choice of feathers may be something akin to revealing your aura. “It’s like a bird tribe thing,” she says. “I’ve noticed people with the earth tones and the pheasant feathers are more grounded earth people, and the people with really fiery colors and blues seem to be very air based.” 

At Janna Farrell Wilson’s Saturday Market booth, Blue Lily Adornments, feather hair extensions are overtaking sales of her feather earrings and other jewelry. “I’ve been doing on average between 30 and 50 people a day on Saturdays at the market,” says Wilson. “I think it’s appealing to people because it’s an inexpensive way to add some color and flair to your hair without doing anything permanent.” Because no dye is required, it’s very appealing to parents of teens who want to change their hairstyle like they change their clothes. Wilson says the look can also be stealthy style: “People tell me that they have to look normal for work,” she says, “so they get just one strand of feathers and tuck it underneath the rest of their hair.” Whether you tuck and hide or strut like a peacock, you’ll be in fine feather.