Rooster feathers — a hair accessory? The trend of wearing rooster feathers in hair has grown and salons have caught on. According to local salon owners, both authentic and alternative feathers are available, and like any political issue relating to animals, there are people against the use of authentic rooster feathers as a hair accessory.
What began as a supply used by fly-fishermen is now being made into a hair accessory. Fishermen use rooster feathers to tie flies for fly-fishing. According to Lisa Ciampa, owner of Luna Blu, Whiting Farms Inc. in Colorado, produces the feathers for both fly fisherman and for salons. Whiting Farms harvests the roosters, allows the feathers to grow, then euthanizes the roosters.
The alternative is a synthetic feather. While the substitute looks the same, because it is synthetic, it cannot be flat ironed or curled. Any excessive heat applied to the faux feather will ruin the material. According to local salons, there is a dilemma when deciding to purchase the feathers. They are described to be like hair extensions and some girls who get them want to be able to style the feathers along with the rest of their hair according to personnel from Luna Blu, Salon Signature and Attitudes Uptown — all salons located in Oxford.
Each of the three salons has taken its own stance on the issue. Attitudes Uptown sells both the real and the fake feathers for the same price, $10. People who want the authentic feathers are satisfied as well as people who are against wearing the authentic ones.
"I don't have a problem with it because they could be molting feathers," Attitudes Uptown manager Nikki Buell said.
Salon Signature is dealing with the same predicament. They have decided to sell the actual rooster feathers because again, the synthetic ones cannot be styled.
"You have fly fishermen that use them and that has been going on for a long time," Michael Lamb, owner of Salon Signature, said.
One salon, Luna Blu, has opted to not sell the authentic rooster feathers after they did research and learned of the methods in which the feathers were being obtained. As far as synthetics go, Ciampa said Luna Blu has not found one they like. When customers ask the reasoning behind not providing authentic rooster feathers, they are told the truth about the methods in which the feathers are retrieved and Ciampa said customers seem to respect the salon's stance on the issue.
"We didn't make just profit off them anyways," Ciampa said.
How far is too far for fashion? Personal morals may prevent people from purchasing authentic rooster feathers; however, they have been used for a long time with fly fishing. The three local salons are all aware of the methods used in retrieving the rooster feathers, and each has come up with a different reasoning to sell or not to sell the feathers. Miami University senior Nicole Smith said she is rethinking her decision regarding feather fashion.
"When I first got my feathers, I just thought it was a fun trend, but I didn't realize what had to happen in order to get the feathers from the roosters. Now that I know, I don't plan on getting any more," Smith said.