Hair Shirts, Smart not Sorry!Randy Mitchell
Hair Shirts, Smart not Sorry! I grew up in a religious household and remember hearing the term “He’s wearing a Hair Shirt”. I thought that was a strange term and my father enlightened me on the topic. A person wearing a hair shirt wore it as a form of “self-punishment” to atone for something they were sorry about. The implication being that a “hair shirt” is coarse and uncomfortable, punishing the wearers by making them uncomfortable about their actions. When the sin is “atoned” the wearer is free to rid themself of this uncomfortable reminder of their bad behavior. The hair shirt was not comfortable or stylish!
Hair Shirts, Smart not Sorry! There is much debate as to whether human hair meets the criteria to be a textile. “Human hair is a protein fiber(like wool or Alpaca), but NOT a textile fiber, in spite of having sufficient strength, length, and fineness, it does not qualify as a textile fiber. This because there is “no free projecting edge”. Despite this definition of textile fiber, woven human hair looks like any other woven fabric. Specialty Fabrics Review, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association published an article addressing this topic in February 2022. Hair has a strength to weight ratio comparable to steel and be stretched to one and one half its original length before breaking.
Hair Shirts, Smart not Sorry! Zsofia Kollar founded the Human Material Loop, based on the concept of making clothes out of human hair. Human hair textile can have different patterns and textures, based on weaving techniques. Amazingly, the use of human hair substitutes natural fibers for synthetic fibers and integrates a local biodegradable fiber into the textile industry. Biodegradability is nature’s way of “recycling”, returning resources to the land and renewing them. Any method of “ecological awareness” is very important in today’s world! Finally, we can wear our “hair shirts” proudly, with nothing to be sorry for!
V Technical Textiles, Inc.
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