Samuel March, a young, vegan barrister, created first unveiled his new wig on social media. “The prototype has arrived. This is the world’s first hemp barrister’s wig. 0% horsehair, 100% vegan friendly,” he posted. He hopes to have the wigs in wider production by the end of the year.
Horsehair wigs have been used for nearly two centuries, following the 1822 introduction by Humphrey Ravenscroft. But at least one legal clothier has expressed interest in March’s product. “There’s definitely a positive conversation to be had and we are interested,” says Karlia Lykourgou, founder of Ivy & Normanton. “I’ve actually been shown a synthetic wig and it does not have the same quality as a horsehair wig. The legal garb that we wear is significant and it means something. We do not want to dilute the quality of this garb that we wear, it’s a sacred uniform and it takes a lot to get there. A hemp wig sounds like it might have a similar quality to horsehair, there’s certainly a conversation to be had.”
Some lawyers may balk at the price tag however—March envisages charging £650 for his wig, well above the low-end horsehair options that can retail for as little £400.