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The Argus Tracey Moberly The Fringe benefits of designing knickers Students use celebrity hair to create new line of lingerie Monday February 12 2007
In years gone by, hair shirts were worn as a punishment for misbehaviour. Fashion and textile students from the University of Brighton have set out to make their "hair underwear" more of a pleasure for its owners. They have been hard at work making lingerie using real human hair for decoration. They have not chosen any old hair - it includes locks from the television presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan and comedian Mark Thomas, among others. Fourteen students have created the pieces for a commission set by political artist Tracey Moberly, who got them to use hair she had gathered from London hair dressers to weave bras, knickers, corsets and nighties in black, red, pink and orange. Kate Ness, one of the students taking part, said. "The idea was to challenge people's taboos about body hair.. There has always been this repulsion associated with hair." The students set to work after the consignment of hair was delivered to their studio in Grande Parade, Brighton three weeks ago. Kate 22, said: "Here's hair, 'here's the colours now get to work.''" Some wove it into workable material while others used it to adorn lingerie they had made or bought already. Kate said: "It was pretty challenging at first. It's not a nice material to handle and there were a lot of short hairs in there." Some of the students worked on simple designed whilst others tried a humourous approach. David Telfer crafted a pair of knickers with a ponytail sprouting from the front. All the designs will be worn by models in a fashion show at The Cafe De Paris in London today, which will be filmed by the BBC. The work will feature ina documentary to be screened in march. It explores attitudes towards female body hair. Kate said: "I'm not sure I'd fancy wearing the underwear, I don't think haair is the nicest textile to feel. It will be great to see the items displayed though." Tracey Moberly was on hand from the start of the project to teach the students about the art of spinning, first with lambs' wool and eventually with human hair. She said that despite their initial mixed reactions, it did not take long for them to throw themselves into their designs. She said: " Hair became just like any other materials the students work with. The lingerie became the canvas and the fabric they made out of the hair was simply incorporated into that canvas, a bit like the oils of a painting. The final outcome has been fantastic and some of the designs are truly beautiful. Photos A SNIP: Students david Telfer and Kate Ness with some of their work CHALLENGE: Tracey Moberly www.theargus.co.uk
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