Photos by David Anderson
Maybe we’ve got roadkill on the brain, but here’s another fine example of creative taxidermy for wearing atop your noggin. Scotsman James Faulkner’s elegant feathered hats all have colorful pasts—after all, they’re garnished with pieces of genuine roadkill. While these macabre toppers aren’t for the faint of heart, they’re certainly more humane than slaughtering defenseless animals in the name of fashion.
DRESSED TO KILL
So how did did graduate student get started with his super-creative hobby? “I was asked to create a hat for a friend’s wedding as an artist,” he tells Ecouterre. “I was aware of the historic use of fur and feathers in fashion and the elegance that this achieved in the ’20s and ’30s, which I liked.
Farming for fur or feathers is something Faulkner disapproves of.
Although Faulkner likes to incorporate elements of rebelliousness into his work, farming for fashion isn’t one of them. Then he and a friend came across a dead magpie on the street. The friend made a joke but Faulkner seized upon the idea. “Using what little taxidermy I knew, I took the bird home, treated it, and turned it into a hat.” he says. “The hat was such a success at the wedding that more friends and friends of friends were making orders.”
OTHER FLIGHTS OF FANCY
But Faulkner doesn’t just scout his materials from the side of the road. He also uses other sustainable resources such as food by-products. “When I or friends host a dinner party, I ask them to order their birds or rabbits unplucked, which is cheaper,” he says. “I pluck them for my friends and get to keep the fur and feathers for my work and we all have a dinner party.”
Faulkner also uses fur and feathers from birds or rabbits served at friends’ dinner parties.
A little gruesome, perhaps, but Faulkner considers this a form of recycling. “Otherwise, all of this would go into the bin,” he says. “I want to maintain the beauty of these creatures, but I do not agree with farming for fashion, which is why I source all my materials as much as possible.”
Faulkner will be launching his line at his very first fashion show on May 14 at