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Graphics and Layout: Konstanze Winkler
Photos: "...model Melli..." © Frank Hofmann, all others © M. Penners
Magic Tribal Hair's workshop of ideas
Hairy-creative, hand-made ideas from Carnival to Tribal
Interview with
Melanie Penners
by Konstanze Winkler
What products do you offer and which of them are the most important ones?

I really cannot say how many products I have any more (laughs)! Counting them one by one would make way more than 1000 pieces I assume. There are over 400 hairpieces and almost 300 flower hair clips. All the hairpieces are very important, of course and all hairpieces of fake hair are made of high quality kanekalon fibre. The difference to cheap hair is already visible, because low quality hair has an artificial sheen and also feels very artificial. The difference becomes most visible after having worn the hairpieces a couple of times, because in most cases the poor quality hair can already be thrown away after that. My hairpieces can be divided into 12 different models, where there is a short hair variant for every model as well, which makes it possible for women with only 5 cm long hair to wear the same hairpiece as women with long hair. Among accessories one can find those for the costume like belt clips hair jewelry for head and hair and a small range of jewelry, especially for steampunk. Most of my items can be found in more than one virtual shelf, because in most cases they are multi-purpose items. You can wear almost all the hair clips as brooches or on the tribal fusion belt, belt clips can be worn as hair jewelry, forehead decorations on the belt and so on. This means that the dancers are invited to be creative and can wear everything in uncountable combinations.
belt clip "desert dreams" worn on the belt and on a hair band in the hair
Most of them have great ideas themselves and I have more than once been shown by my customers how to use my products in different ways! The second most important product category are hair clips, where there are flower hair clips with and without feathers or with small braids. Moreover I offer big and small hair clips with different feathers like ostrich plumes, peacock-, pheasant-, guinea fowl- and cock feathers. There are also special hair clips with braids which are decorated with feathers, cowries, metal ornaments, cogwheels for steampunk and other beautiful things. For steampunk and gothic there are even 2 separate online shops now.
If several different but similar colours of kanekalon hair are mixed thoroughly you get absolutely real looking hairpieces in natural shades and so Magic Tribal Hair can make a hairpiece for every customer! That is why I like producing hairpieces on order, so the customer is able to choose the right colours!
steampunk feather hair clip with lots of old cogwheels
Belt clips and the tribal fusion belt in general are something I will focus even more on in the near future: I do not want to tell way more now, but the first results can already be seen and bought at the 18th Oriental Dance Festival of Europe in Duisburg next weekend. Additionally I will use the upcoming winter to work more on these products. There is one thing one can surely rely on: Belts and belt clips will match my hairpieces and tribal headbands and ShaliSaris wonderful playful costumes!
ShaliSari's model Melli is wearing ShaliSari "HUSKY" with "Cheeky Skirt" and the steampunk belt clip “Victorian Lady“ by Magic Tribal Hair
How do you create hairpieces and hair jewelry?

The best way to describe the creative process would be a puzzle. I looked at pictures of dancers on the internet and studied their customs in order not to be totally wrong with my ideas. As a result I quickly came up with flower headdresses, peacock feathers and a little later ostrich plumes. Soon I had discovered that gothic is very popular in tribal fusion which brought me to colours like black, purple, wine red and white and material like studs, lacquer, metal ornaments, laces, black roses, black-red flowers, cameos and skull items. And last but not least came steampunk! I had had the idea of steampunk items already way earlier, but it took me half a year to find a clock and watch maker who was able to deliver cogwheels, clock hands and other clock parts in adequate numbers – the material for my steampunk items should predominantly be antique. Otherwise you get industrial style, which is also very interesting but something I will not do now, but in the future.

Some of my ideas even had to be scrapped again, because the products could not be used for dance. I have to make sure that the accessories will stay on under all movements and turns, nothing may slip or fall down, of course! That really is a special challenge, because I do not make simple fashion items!

gothic variant with cymbals
baroque style curls perfectly match gothic outfits
hairpiece of braids:
steampunk variant with cogwheels
Are all of your products your very own ideas?

Not all of them. There are „cover items“ and such which are complete creations of my own. Cover items are for example hairpieces of yarns. They had existed before I started with Magic Tribal Hair, and thus the item itself is not my idea. But I made my own version of it which started a little chaotic in the beginning and later on I developed a collection matching the different styles in dance: Tribal, fusion, vintage and gothic. Last summer I completed them with some hairpieces matching some ShaliSari costumes, especially from her Shaman-, Gothic- and Kakao collections. Some day the product developed further and I added some braids which can beautifully be decorated with cowries and ostrich plumes.

The tribal headband is not one of my inventions either, but I produce different models compared to those I have seen on dancers at events.

2 different steampunk hair clips with complete clockworks from old watches
But when it comes to hairpieces of fake hair, I have created my very own model: A hairpiece of lose hair and plaited parts called hairpiece of braids or model magician in the online shop. The lose hair makes the hairpiece look thick and the plaited parts offer the opportunity to attach cowries, feathers, cymbals, cogwheels... If you take some of the braids and wrap them around the junctions of your own hair and the hairpiece you get a really wild-looking hairstyle reminding of fantasy characters and a little bit of the movie „Pirates of the Caribbean“.
Tribal headbands à la Magic Tribal Hair, model „orange fire“, in blonde and dark brown, naturally the fake hair parts can be adapted to the customer's hair colour!
Exclusive creation by Magic Tribal Hair: hairpieces of braids & model magician with cowries and ostrich plumes
Also for the attachment of the hairpieces I have come up with something new: I seal the beginnings of the hair with a rubber-like layer which avoids the hair to get frizzy and gives additional hold. This change has already been noticed positively by my customers. Furthermore I created some material mixes. I have never seen a hairpiece of fake hair with some yarns in it before. But these hairpieces of fake hair and yarns have been optimized, too. The yarns used to be attached with the fake hair but now you are able to remove them, because the are on separate clips. So you can constantly change them and wear all items apart from each other and thus the dancers are able to optimize their hair decoration for every outfit. Moreover they need not necessarily buy a whole new hairpiece of fake hair for every costume.
hairpieces of yarns f.l.t.r. and from top to bottom> White Chocolate, Nosferatu, Schamanentanz, Vampire Dreads, Leoprint, Victorian Age
Yarnclips red passion and Moulin Rouge in 6 cm long hair
But what about the dancers with very short hair? Hairpiece do not have good hold in short hair, do they?

After all, my hairpieces are also convenient for short hair! If you take these yarn clips we have just been talking about. They are of yarns attached to a special clip which already stays in 5 cm long hair! And you cannot pull them out, when they are closed, only if you pull out your own hair with them! That means I can make a variant for short hair of all the hairpieces I offer! So women with short hair have the same opportunities as women with long hair. These clips are not new, they come from the wig industry and have been used in professional hairpieces since long ago. The only problem is, that there is a huge offer of them in virtual and real shops, but most of them are of very poor quality. The metal of the clips is too soft, which means they will not stay in the hair but can be pulled out very easily. I have searched the marked for almost one whole year, until I finally found the quality I wanted to have.

Hairpiece of fake hair on 4 special clips in only 5 cm long hair. Step 1: attach clips (always 2 besides each other) at the back of the head, step 2: cover rest of your own hair with a scarf (bangs may be left outside), step 3: decorate the scarf with flowers, cowry clips, feather hair clips etc.
So you are a friend of multi-purpose hair jewelry?

Of course I am, and I like my customers being creative with my products! The pictures in the online shop should be seen as examples, if the dancers find a better way to use my products – why not?! By the way, I am far from being a perfect stylist (laughs), my customers usually make more beautiful hairstyles with my hairpieces than I do!
And changing the purpose is also a great idea, the only thing that matters is to care for the products the right way. Every hairpieces is delivered with detailed instructions for both use and care. And I  put a special oil sheen spray on the hairpieces after I have made them. I recommend every customer to read the instructions for use and care, because it really is a pity when hairpieces can only be worn a couple of times, because they simply have not been combed. Then the best kanekalon hair cannot help any more! Basically my customers' reports on the utility of Magic Tribal Hair products are very positive and I often get great inspirations for new products by satisfied customers!
Styling tip number 1 by Apsara Habiba: Wrap a 100 cm long switch braid once around the junction (the part where your own ponytail and the switch braid meet) and fix it with some hair pins to get a hole new look! This hairstyle also offers you to put in a pair of beautiful lilies
Styling tip number 2 by Apsara Habiba: When you wrap the same braid around itself one time you get a twist braid.  Fix it with a long flower hair clip and you will get another new and fancy look.

Bazar Schedule
Magic Tribal Hair
for the first half of 2011:

March, 3rd - 6th 2011, Düsseldorf, Tanzhaus NRW, Orientale
March,12th -13th 2011, Hanover, World of Orient
May, 7th 2011, Stuttgart, OrientLE
May, 27th - 29th 2011, Hanover, 4. International Tribal Festival
July, 9th 2011, Nürnberg, Total Oriental

translation by Melanie Penners