Reid Peppard is probably the only person who feels a rush of excitement when she sees a dead animal lying on the side of the road. To her, it isn't a rotting carcass, but a thing of beauty just waiting to have life breathed into it. Peppard's London-based fashion line, RP/Encore, uses taxidermy to turn dead creatures, namely rodents and vermin, into wearable accessories. Many have serious issues with just how "wearable" her pieces are, however, which range from full-on rat headpieces to pigeon feather necklaces.
Peppard was studying fine arts at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London when she became interested in taxidermy. For her, it seemed a natural marriage to combine her skills as an artist and taxidermist, and she sees her work as walking the line between fashion and fine art.
To be clear, you can take comfort in the fact that no animals are suffering for fashion here. Peppard, who is a vegetarian, uses animals that are "victims of roadkill, pest control, or natural death," with the occasional use of a feeder rat.
But is there really anything comfortable about this?
"If you don't like it, then just look away," Peppard offers to those who are offended by her "Vermin Collection." "So many people are unwilling to look inwards. They are unable to see beyond what they want to see."
It's hard to look away though, even if it does offend you. We're talking about dead rodents, with faces and limbs, hanging from your wrist, crowning your head, holding your coins, etc. Looking at these pieces upsets some and intrigues others. Whatever the reaction, it's anything but lukewarm. At a cost of 100 to 2,000 pounds a piece, you can have one of your very own "conversation starters." Lady Gaga even wore one in a music video.
Take a look and let us know what you think about these dead animal accessories.