Should we just grow our own sweaters?
You and I both know this. The supply chain is super messed up. The way humans make clothing is deeply messed up. And it’s almost impossible to find a really good sweater.
So should we just make garments made of human hair?
A company in the Netherlands certainly thinks so
And they’re not the first to think about this. Once you start digging, the idea of wearing human hair is everywhere. Like from designer Alix Bizet:
Or artist Jenni Dutton:
Or sculptor Gu Wenda
Or material researcher Savine Schoorl:
And you might be like… “ick.” Which would be super understandable because wₑ ₗᵢᵥₑ ᵢₙ ₐ ₛₒcᵢₑₜy where hair is gross!
But we didn’t always…
Jewelry made from hair was a massive trend in the Victorian era. And yes, the trend extended into the United States. In fact, here is a locket from the Harvard library collection that contains lock of Emily Dickinson’s parents’ hair braided together
So what happened? Why were we so ok with wearing hair and now we are sooooo not? Could we ever be into wearing hair again?
These mysteries are solved this week by my friend and associate Margot Boyer-Dry. She also has a newsletter, and I highly recommend it.
In part two, Margot and I wonder if it really is all that different to wear another animal’s hair.
So we went to the Queens County Farm Museum (it is extremely cool that this is a full-on farm in New York City) to watch sheep get sheared. This photo looks more intense than it seems. But, as you’ll hear, this was nothing like what Margot or I expected. Nor was it, sadly, how most wool production goes. But it was a remarkable thing to witness.
To learn more about wool from the master, Clara Parkes, and get her guide to who is doing it right, check out The Wool Channel
By the way, a cool Brooklyn-based brand that Clara recommends is Naomi Nomi. They make very chic classic shirts that look like they will last decades.
(And if you’d like to knit yourself- do you know about Ravelry?!)
Other Articles Of Interest
Um. What? I’m still pinching myself. I cannot believe Business Of Fashion thinks this show is worth including in their hall of fame. I’m so chuffed. Thank you, BOF.
TORONTO I’m doing a very special live episode that I hope will be the finale for this year. It will feature the Aurora James (designer and founder of Brother Vellies and the creator of the 15% Pledge) alongside the curator of the Bata Shoe Museum to talk about… shoes! All kinds of shoes! Come! This is not a panel. It’s a full-on live episode. You’ll see.
NEW YORK, it’s the architectural film festival, and the lineup is so good. I’m excited that I’ll be in conversation with my friend and colleague Diana Budds (you might know her from New York Magazine) about the concept of utopia.. right after a showing of a documentary about Chandigarh. (This is in reference to a series Diana and I once worked on together called Nice Try).
Psst would you like free tickets? Use the discount code UTOPIA. voila. They are free. But there are only a few tickets allowed for that code, so hop to it.
Shopping tip: I never quite know what to do about activewear. It’s hard to find workout clothes that are stylish OR sustainable. I mean, yes, sometimes I have bought secondhand sports bras (so sue me!), but I recently heard about Michi and I like their bondage-looking athleisure. It’s the kind of clothing I would actually incorporate into my wardrobe.
This month, if you stop by a pay-what-you-like community bookstore called Recirculation, you will get a chance to witness a beautiful, haunting, profound work of art by my friend Regina Y Evans.
Hang in there.