Wigs have been a huge part of the hair industry for centuries, from ancient Egypt and Rome to Europe in the 17th century, when royalty such as Louis VIII used a wig to cover his bald head.
In more recent times, wigs have transformed from your typical toupée to styles such as lace front wigs and weaves, thanks to the popularity of hair companies such as Vanity Box Hair, who revolutionized the frontal and closure game, and stylists like Alonzo Arnold, and Cliff Vmir, who worked with celebs such as Tamar Braxton, and showed us just how transparent a lace frontal can be.
For the most part, lace frontals have been worn by, and catered to, black women, but self-taught Montreal resident, David Edwards, recently caught hair lovers' attention.
Known on Instagram as Hairsay514, Edwards, 48, went viral on Twitter early this month after user Leonia shared pictures of his work. For Leonia and the nearly 70,000 people who liked the post, Edwards' attention to detail was what made his work so special.
"I thought his work was amazing. I didn't think the post would blow up the way it did at all," Leonia told HuffPost Canada via Twitter. "From his captions on Instagram he seems like a really genuine person doing what he loves, so I'm happy he has gained so many followers and so much support for the work he does. If he ever decides to hold classes, I would love an invite."
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Edwards himself is still adjusting to his new calling.
"Up until recently I was a full-time painter, but now I am transitioning into becoming a full-time wig maker," Edwards told HuffPost Canada via phone.
Wig-making is fairly new to Edwards, as he began this craft seven years ago, a few years after moving to Montreal in 2009. Edwards says he learned how to make wigs from YouTube after developing an interest for changing his appearance as a child.
"My two older brothers were normal in family photos. 75 per cent of mine were fake beards or blue colours on my face to add wrinkles. It was always some sort of special effect or makeup," Edwards said.
"Even today when I try on the the wigs that I made, it blows me away how drastically it can change someone's appearance just by changing hairstyle, length, or colour. It fascinates me you can become such a different person by putting on a wig or something simple like that."
When Edwards hit his teenage years, he lost interest in being a chameleon and shelved his passion for playing with his looks. It wouldn't be until walking past a wig shop after moving to Montreal that Edwards would pick up his interest again.
"That time I came right home and googled wigs. Tried to learn as much as I could, watched what I could on YouTube, and bought a book on wig making and taught myself," he said. At the time, there were not many teachers or classes where he could learn this new skill but he says he gets comfort in knowing those resources are available today for people like him.
The response to his work has been nothing short of "overwhelming," he said. His Instagram follow count skyrocketed from 10,000 to over 33,000 in a mere four days.
For Edwards, his new quasi-celebrity is astounding, considering he lives in Montreal where he says the wig-making community is not huge. He even receives requests for his hair services in the Philippines and Atlanta and "all over the map," and charges clients on a per-wig basis.
As he looks to the future, Edwards says he hopes to work in film and television, such as "Game Of Thrones." "A place where they are looking for realistic undetectable wigs. That would be my dream," Edwards said, adding that he is creating an online collection for men's hair pieces.
"The wigs I see are super high density and seem to me to be more hair than men need," Edwards said. He also hopes to create a line of light-density pieces that are realistic and work for men who experience hair loss.
Frontals and closures are known for their detail and transparency, being virtually undetectable when done right. Those with a calling for the craft, such as Edwards, have this ability to make the hair look as though it is growing from the scalp. These hair pieces, which are sewn to the top of the head when weaved, or the top of the wig, offer a great alternative for multiple purposes.
One of those purposes are black women looking to wear their hair in a protective style — who do not want to expose their natural or relaxed hair to heat damage.
Additionally, frontals and closures can be used for individuals who deal with hair loss, but are looking for an alternative to wigs. These can either be Swiss-based or silk-based. Swiss lace is more transparent and easier to blend into the person's scalp, with the difference between a frontal or closure being both size and comfort.
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