Roadkill Goes From the Highway to the Runway

james faulkner roadkill hat
Photo via the Telegraph

For most people, there's something particularly sad and gory about seeing wildlife killed on the side of the road--but for one British clothing designer, such critter-carnage is fodder for fashion. In an upcoming fashion show, animals whose lives were cut-short on the roadway will be hitting the runway as hats, resting atop the neatly coiffed heads of models. It strike you as a pretty morbid idea for a cap? Well, the designer, James Faulkner, kind of agrees: "It sounds very sinister, but I find it very satisfying to make something beautiful from something gruesome."According to a report from the Telegraph, Faulkner's run-over-critter caps are designed with a virtual menagerie of unfortunate animals--ranging from foxes, rabbits, and magpies to pigeons, crows, and peacocks--who never made it across the road. He'll be exhibiting his 36 hat designs at a fashion show this May.

Something of an hat-Frankenstein, Faulkner prepares all the deceased animals himself. Describing to the Telegraph how he got into using road kill, the designer recalled a story in which he volunteered to make the hat for a friend to wear at her wedding. Strolling down the road, he was struck with inspiration--in the form of a mangled magpie. He scooped it up and headed home. "It sounds awful," he said, "but I cut off the wings with an axe."

But making the roadkill hats isn't all the axe-wielding fun you might imagine, insists Faulkner:

Usually I pluck or skin the animal, scrape off any fat and treat it with a salt solution. Essentially, I feel like I am turning something sad into something quite stylish, and I think it's good that the animal doesn't just rot on the road.

Faulkner is reportedly planning on starting a hat making business, though he says all his creations "don't have to be made out of dead animal."

It will be interesting to see how the design community reacts to Faulkner's roadkill caps when they're put on display in May--though we should hope they're well-received. After all, the animals used to make the hats have been through enough already, it would be a shame to see them snubbed by unforgiving fashion elitists as well.

More on Re-Thinking Road Kill
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