Fashionistas may never think fly-fishing is cool — but they have deemed trendy the bait that fly fishermen use.
Perhaps spurred on by the feathers worn by Aerosmith’s (and American Idol’s) Steven Tyler, women have been buying up fly-fishing feathers to adorn their hair. Call it the modern-day bandanna or butterfly clip craze that rocked the teen set in the 90s.
Being completely clueless to the world of fly-fishing and previously unaware of this fashion phenomenon, I chatted with fly fishing consultant Rob Snowhite to see if it was happening in the Washington area. Seconds into describing the trend, Rob knew exactly what I was talking about. More and more women, especially teenagers, are flooding fly shops to purchase feathers for their hair.
The manager at an Orvis fly shop in Clarendon, Va., Dan Davala, has heard concerns about how the run on feather lures has affected fly-fishers. Because women are rapidly ordering feathers for their hair, anglers are concerned there will be a shortage for actual fishing purposes.
“It’s a fad, but I think you’ll find fly-fishers can get worked up about this stuff,” Davala said.
For Davala, it’s good for business either way. At Orvis, customers looking to adorn their hair are buying long, thin rooster feathers with a certain thickness (called a grade), which are different from the feathers that most fly-fishers prefer. He’s enjoying the fashion-fuled spike in business — but in the meantime is reminding new customers about his fly-fishing classes as they browse the store.
At Great Feathers fly store in Sparks, Md., manager David Budniakiewicz readily acknowledged that he does “a lot of hair business.”
“A couple months ago we started getting a lot of calls from California, Colorado, even as far as Puerto Rico for hair feathers,” he said.
Still, some of Budniaki’s suppliers have become frustrated by the hair trend and have specified that their feathers could only go to fly-fishers.
But Budniaki also echoed what Davala said. Women generally seek the super-long hackle feathers that fly-fishers generally don’t want, so there’s no direct shortage. He figures the fad will help keep Great Feathers afloat.
“Normal guys come in here and spend $15 or $20, but girls come in about every three weeks and spend $75, and have spent thousands of dollars in orders so far. So thanks, girls!” David said.
In Arlington at Urban Angler, manager Jon Fisher said the fashion-feather trend is “great for business. We are in business to sell stuff.”
“And we don’t often get a lot of women in the store so guys love having women in the store. It sounds chauvinistic, but it’s true.”
None of these guys could really help me figure out how these feathers became so popular as hair-ware — though they’ve heard rumors Steven Tyler wore them in his hair on an American Idol episode and from there the trend grew.
So readers, you tell us, what’s this all about? And is it really Steven Tyler’s fault? (I could have sworn country singer Miranda Lamber had one in her hair on the finale of The Voice Wednesday night.) Tell us about your feather adventures in the comments below.