Birds of a feather

by jennine on May 13, 2008

Adorning oneself in animals is a very ancient human tradition… Feathers, head dresses, furs, teeth, bone, shells, as if paying homage to the most prolific designer of them all, Nature.

In the modern, factory farmed, supermarket and retail chain world the notion of wearing animals have changed. Animals have been abstracted to prints, faux furs, plastic teeth, and jewelry. Death is far away and contained in sterile environments, it’s not part of our every day consciousness. Convenient, yes… but right or wrong… I don’t know. It just is.

The reappearance with feathers and taxidermy in fashion may be indicating something more than just pretty feathers… as I’m coming across a lot of beautiful pieces that have more than just a little macabre. Dark accessoire that cries for a reconnection with life and death. Maybe, as humans we’re realizing that we’re not as invincible as we thought we were in the 20th century…

Animals are reborn to remind people of the life they lived, but also to suggest an alternative history, in which they rule the world. The resemblance to the archetypes known from fables and fairy tials is obvious. From a similar moral perspective Idiots criticizes the contemporary way of life[...]

Rheanna Lingham Jewelry


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Poochie May 13, 2008 at 4:50 am

I like feather pieces (I have 3 fascinators from KissCurl on etsy) but don’t think I can bring myself to wear that much reality. I hate those furs with those animal feet and heads too(well, I don’t like fur in general…)

I can’t imagine we’d wear a cat head necklace or something, and since I have birds, I can’t see myself in any of those, except the headband which isn’t a “real” bird.


susie_bubble May 13, 2008 at 4:51 am

I LOVE Rheanna Lingham…. she’s stocked at Luna & Curious on Brick Lane which has the most fascinating array of stuff…

c in c May 13, 2008 at 5:20 am

rheanna lingham - O - M - G. i love ALL of it. wish luna & curious sold online!

i appreciate the other more dramatic pieces for the artistic value, but definitely couldn’t wear them. agree with poochie about the reality factor.

Korka May 13, 2008 at 5:40 am

I love this. I also love to have a different perspective on wearing animals as our own personal adornment. I wear leather, feathers and fur. I want to be able to do this without any guilt, but I do feel guilty sometimes.

But it gives me a certain feeling of “back to the roots”. In Iceland it’s only been a about a hundred years since we stopped being hunters and farmers. Maybe using animals as clothes and adornment we are trying to stay in touch with nature in a way.

But feel free to contradict me, anyone.

pretty face May 13, 2008 at 6:31 am

I am in LOVE with that headband.

I am going to Brick Lane now, ASAP.

Thank you!

ellie May 13, 2008 at 7:12 am

“Maybe using animals as clothes and adornment we are trying to stay in touch with nature in a way.”

Korka, I agree! I grew up in a rural area with an abundance of farmers and hunters and (some in my family) and contrary to what many people think, there is a true reverence for the plants and animals killed for our use. Not to say that everyone feels this way, but those who do it properly take the care to make sure they aren’t causing more harm than necessary. I am extremely thankful for the deerskin mocassins my mother made from the buck my stepfather shot and butchered.

Commercial fur is clearly another story…

jennine May 13, 2008 at 8:52 am

wow… deerskin mocasins made by mum… that is a beautiful story. and like korka, i wish i could be guilt free… but more often than not, i am.

as far as brick lane! wow, what more can you ask for? bagels, curry, and feather jewelry…

Eva Bowering May 13, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Its funny because I just purchased two pieces from the Etsy user Purevile. She makes pieces out of bone. Including antlers and jaw bones. Which are included in the two pieces that I recently bought from her. Luckily, the animal bones used in her pieces (though completely authentic) are found from her brothers back yard. So there is no harm in having her make them. None the less, beautiful pieces I whole heartedly recommend people check out.

Korka May 13, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Ellie: Beautiful story!

Eva Bovering: I do agree that when the material is found there is absolutely no harm in using it. That is the best way.

meli May 13, 2008 at 8:19 pm

lovely post.
I could never dare to wear one myself, but it is an amazing visual for the carrier and the earth-touch-history message. quite spiritual.

Ragamala May 13, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Those headbands are really great!

theuglyearring May 15, 2008 at 11:39 am

what a fabulous post…and so much talent coming from these designers.

Jill @ Trend de la Creme May 20, 2008 at 9:31 am

While I’m not sure I could wear an entire bird around my neck (eyes and all), who am I to judge? As long as these birds die a natural death, hats off to anyone who can find the beauty in their lifelessness.

rabbit May 20, 2008 at 5:07 pm

Though I can appreciate the idea behind the pieces I find it a bit revolting and er…dead. I Think that there is something lacking in the animal. If you were to produce an image or sculpture of some sort it would have you interpretation and spirit in the piece. Or when the animal has life it has its own soul and spirit. However I find the effect of the glass eye and the lackluster of something once so animated gives each piece a very stagnant feeling,

It makes me think if there is a difference between using animals as their own forms and the using them as materials.

PUREVILE! August 30, 2008 at 1:01 pm

I am the “desigener” of PUREVILE! and I do use ALOT of bones and antlers and such in my accessories…but ALL are found…NONE of the animals were killed for their parts…
I create a sort of Momento Mori with their bones and skulls…a requiem to their lives…so they live on in tribute as beautiful woks of wearable art…PLUS bones are strikingly beautiful and unique…Like macabre little snow-flakes!!!!

P.S. not to split hairs…but I am a MALE….

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