Wigmakers style hair replacements for men, women and children. Wigs can
be used for cosmetic reasons, for style, and in film and theater. Wigs can
also be made for toys and dolls.
Wigmaking is an old craft. It's much like tying a rug. Wigmakers make a
foundation cap fitted to the customer. They then ventilate the wig by pulling
hair through with a needle and knotting it in place.
The method used today isn't much different from the method invented in
the time of King Louis XVI, who made it fashionable to wear wigs.
Wigmakers start the process by measuring the customer's head. Then they
sew a foundation with cotton bands and lace. After sewing, the cap is fitted
again for size. Then the hair is pulled and knotted into the cap.
To make one wig, wigmakers draw 30,000 to 40,000 strands of hair through
the foundation cap, giving consideration to style and to the direction of
Most high-quality wigs and those used in theater and film use real human
hair. Wigs can also be made of synthetic materials. Many high-quality wigs
are made by hand. However, machines can also fashion wigs.
Wigmakers can work in theater, for film companies or for hair replacement
companies. They can also run their own consulting and styling businesses.
Working hours can vary. Wigmakers in a theater company may have to work
long hours under deadline and be available in the evenings. Those who make
wigs by contract can set their own hours.
Wigmakers must have good manual dexterity. "Wigmaking does require a person
to be able to handle a needle and thread, and have good eyesight -- or strong
glasses!" says Lora Collins. She is a wig specialist and owner of a medical
wig supply company.
"As in a lot of cases, each hair is individually hand knotted in the cap.
You can understand the patience and skill required to make the wigs and also
to repair them."