Typically, when I write about fashion crimes, it’s not something that’s actually illegal. But I was asked to consult and contribute to fellow reporter Kim Bell’s bizarre front page above-the-fold story about a rash of thefts of hair supply shops that sell expensive hair extensions. It was a curious human interest story that sparked a lot of discussion. Smash and grabs that focus on electronics or jewelry are easy to understand, but most people found the theft of hair humorous.
I understand it because I know the status it provides to wearers. I’m not one of them. I usually wear my hair twisted, braided or in an Afro. I don’t have much desire to see it cascading down my back or blowing in the breeze. However, it’s easy to understand what women who do want that look are looking for. There’s surely some psychology involved, but Beyonce, Selena Gomez and Jessica Simpson don’t just do it for acceptance. They are all already beautiful, but there’s a short-hand to long flowing hair. It’s perceived to be more feminine, more beautiful, more sexy, etc. It’s part of their image.
The thefts are surely related to people who want to be associated with those images at all costs, even if that means trafficking in stolen “virgin” hair imported from impoverished countries overseas. It’s a lot to swallow, but it makes for an interesting story. Read the complete story about the hair theft phenomenon in St. Louis, Atlanta and around the country on a single page here: Pricey hair extensions are hot trend in St. Louis, attracting smash-and-grab thieves.