U.K. Lawyer Ends Centuries-Long Tradition With Vegan Hemp Wig

By Divya Kashyap. Updated: April 2022.
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Samuel March, an attorney based in the UK is urging the end to a centuries-long tradition of barristers wearing wigs made with horsehair. Samuel being a plant-based animal rights lawyer has advocated for the use of vegan wigs made from biodegradable hemp instead.

The story follows Samuel who, upon being called to the bar in 2021, decided to make his own court wig using hemp. He even shared the prototype online on Twitter and received a positive response.

Sustainable Hemp Vegan Wigs On Trial

Samuel March started previewing the hemp-based wigs last year on the basis of it being an animal-friendly and more environmentally sustainable vegan alternative to the status quo. 

“Hemp is a notoriously tough material so I do not anticipate there being any issues, but there is always a risk where you’re the first in the world to try something”, said March in a statement to The Telegraph.

After gaining positive traction on social media and through word-of-mouth, March sold the first batch of vegan hemp wigs to his colleagues and students who were finishing Bar school. Fast forward to now, March has launched a website to sell more wigs on a made-to-order basis.

One of March’s initial buyers is QC Jamie Burton who is a very senior barrister considered a leader in their legal field. QC Jamie Burton adds, “Lighter than its horse-hair equivalent, Sam’s wig has offered nothing to the quality of my submissions but definitely makes me perspire less in the face of an unpersuaded judge. And it causes no harm, so I’m doubly grateful to Sam for his ingenious invention.”

But What Makes Hemp So Great?

Hemp is among the most versatile crops. For thousands of years, hemp fiber has been used for many industrial applications. This is because it offers the strongest and longest natural fiber. Hemp fibers are more absorbent, durable, softer, and warmer than cotton and other types of fabric available today.

March’s wigs are 100 percent vegan and biodegradable, thought to be the first of their kind in our world where traditional wigs made from horsehair have been worn since the 17th century.

In 2021, March told Legal Cheek: “The wig is deeply symbolic, I wanted it to be something I would be excited and proud to wear, and I just didn’t get that feeling from the idea of a synthetic wig. “I didn’t want a highly artificial material masquerading as something else; I wanted something that was natural, distinct, had some character, and was proudly different”, he added. 

According to March, the idea of using hemp as a material for the wig was offered by his father and the duo found the idea disruptive. Overall, another outperforming vegan alternative among other innovative materials such as mushroom leather and apple leather.

Where To Buy

The wigs are priced at £600 (plus VAT and postage) and can be ordered from March’s website. Currently, all proceeds from sales are being reinvested into the business, but March plans to donate any future profits “to causes which use the law to further animal protection”.   

Divya is a content crafter at Vegan Avenue. She is a long-term happy vegan who is also enthusiastic about slow, mindful living in the company of cats.