The fashion world is fickle, and fads that seemed all the rave only a few months ago vanish as quickly as feathers fly in the wind. Take, for example, the saddle hackle hair extension craze, which over the past several months has boomed loud enough to knock the fly tying world off its foundation. Hackle farms scrambled to meet demand. Fly shops sold feathers faster than they could buy them from suppliers. Prices spiked, and inventories dropped… and fly tiers were left behind their empty vises wondering what happened. But alas, a new twist on fashion has eclipsed the hair-hackle craze.


Unlike feather extensions, which hundreds of salon shop owners in Colorado and on the West Coast claim to have started, this hot new craze–dill pickle extensions–can be pinpointed to one person, Ms. Gertie Schmidski of West Allis, Wisconsin. Ms. Schmidski has been canning her own spicy cucumbers since 1952, but the idea didn’t cross her mind until she saw Steven Tyler wearing feather hair extensions on “American Idol” a few weeks ago. “I thought those colored feathers looked lame… so ‘yesterday,'” she explained. “To me, nothing says ‘free spirit’ better than pickles on your head.”

Ms. Schmidski doesn’t actually own a hair salon, “but is giving it some dang-serious thought” now that things are catching on.

“I think all we need is a celebrity to wear canned vegetable extensions in a major consumer magazine, or on a television show, and this sucker’s gonna go off,” said Ms. Schmidski. “I’ve already reached out to David Petzal of Field & Stream, thinking it would be perfect to see him wear baby gherkin extensions on ‘The Gun Nuts,’ but I haven’t heard back yet.”

Ms. Schmidski notes that okra, string beans, green onions, and martini olives are also being used as extensions. In Nebraska, corn cob extensions are also wildly popular. Cob extensions don’t involve high-grade sweet corn people eat, rather feed corn that is used for livestock and (in what can only be described as a cruel twist of fate) ground up to make chicken feed for the hackle industry. Interestingly, while market prices for hackle feathers are expected to drop sharply, the cost of feeding surplus chickens is expected to rise.

There is also growing concern that the pickle extension craze might impact the price of Chicago-style hot dogs, and the corn cob extension boom might further affect the commodities markets… perhaps leading to a spike in ethanol prices, as well as depleted supplies of high fructose corn syrup used to make artificially-sweetened juices, jams, and frozen pastries.

We’ll keep you posted.