Hair extensions were once a secret of celebrities and models but in the past two years the new day new hair trend has blown up, becoming a multi billion dollar industry with celebs swapping out their color and length weekly. Hair extensions are a stable and necessity in the fashion and beauty industry and the demand for the very day women to be able to access them is costing some women around the world to be seriously exploited.
As we start to talk more about the ingredients in our makeup and their ingredient sourcing though, do we care enough to see where hair extensions come from?
There are a very few in the hair industry which is made up of tens of thousands of companies that is open about where their hair companies. We talked with one, Dan Choi, whose story we found out about via a Youtube video and Refinery 29 article. In the video Dan chronicles the South asian hair trade and how women sell their hair for as little as $3 for a ponytail. Dan has been challenging this practice and pays women on average $100 for their ponytail. He also uses minimal treatment with his hair which makes it healthier, longer lasting and better for the environment!
Why does he choose to be an ethical company rather than a profit over people company? In a quick interview we did with Dan he revealed a few things
RM: Why do you choose to use people over profit?
Dan Choi: I was born fortunate -- born into a middle class family in NYC with immigrant parents from South Korea. Most people in this world aren't so fortunate. I realized that I can spend my life in my comfort zone or I can go out and make a difference in someone's life.
RM: Where do you see your brand in the next five years?
Dan Choi: We see our brand on a global stage from the everyday women experiencing thinning hair, hair loss from chemo and alopecia to the runways of NYFW & PFW -- giving all types of women the confidence to go out and live their very best lives.
RM: . How do you think your brand will affect the rest of the ethical and fair trade beauty space?
Dan Choi: We believe a few companies will follow suit, but the majority will stay unethical as the demand for cheap, unethical hair is far greater.
As of now the most ethical hair we know besides Dan is Freedom Couture, an Australian wig maker who openly chronicles her hair buying missions letting her followers know the amount she pays for hair and locations she purchases the hair from. As the demand for chepa hair grows we can not be convinced unethical sourcing will stop anytime soon, but we do believe Dan is leading a revolution in an industry in desperate need for change.