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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Student taps into hair feather trend with affordable line, 'Shake Ya Gator Feather'

The feather hair extension trend has drifted from the West Coast to Gainesville, and students are quickly flocking to the fad.

Rooster plume feathers, normally found in fishing shops, are now being sported by students as hair accessories. About a month ago, a local fishing shop noticed a large influx of female customers wanting the feathers, according to Gary Simpson, manager of Gary's Tackle Box. At first he had no idea what they wanted them for, but he was delighted with the sudden demand for the feathers.

It is now practically impossible to find an accessory store not carrying feather memorabilia.

"Our store stocks according to what's in style," said Sonaine Gift, a sales associate at Cupid in the Oaks Mall. "The whole store is basically all feathers right now."

"HERStyler," a hair-accessory kiosk in the Oaks Mall, gets at least 10 girls a day wanting the feathers, according to sales associate Spencer Christen.

Although the trend arrived to Gainesville fashionably late, Raquel Farinas is already capitalizing on the feather fad. Farinas knew UF was the perfect place to start her business since the trend was just catching on.

Farinas, a 20-year-old telecommunication student at UF, spent her last summer in California, where the trend was already popular. She became infatuated with the feathers, but not so much the price tag attached to them. Some high-end salons were charging as much as $80 per feather, according to Farinas.

"A feather shouldn't cost more than a meal," she said. "We are in college; I know we're all broke."

Her unwillingness to pay high prices for her latest "addiction" inspired her to start a more affordable feather hair extension line called "Shake Ya Gator Feather" about four weeks ago.

Although most local salons are charging $10 to $20 per feather, Farinas only charges between $5 and $8 for hers.

"I started researching the trend and realized...I could totally do this myself."

Farinas started purchasing the feathers in bulk from eBay and taught herself how to install them using YouTube videos. She started a Twitter account for the line, and the business grew from there. Farinas meets her customers on campus to sell and install the feathers from her line.

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The feathery extensions come in different lengths, colors and textures, and can be crimped or clipped into the hair. The real feathers can be can be washed, blow-dried, straightened or curled. The synthetic feathers are stiffer and normally only used as clip-ins.

"I love them because I can treat them like my natural hair," Farinas said. "They are subtle but still really cool."

The feathers are installed by threading a small, malleable bead onto a thin section of hair. The feather is then threaded through the bead with the hair and secured at the scalp by clamping the bead with pliers. This crimping method is pain-free and takes less than five minutes to complete.

The crimped feathers should stay in the hair between one and three months. If they fall out within the first month, she will reinstall them for free.

In the spirit of football season, Farinas is selling orange and blue synthetic clip-in extensions. To purchase feathers from "Shake Ya Gator Feather," visit http://twitter.com/shakeyagf_UF.

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