Wednesday 25 January, 2012

Body Modification!


The Script

By Natasha Coombes-Liddle / Tha-One.Newness Writer While flicking through my stack of fashion magazines and surveying the mammoth load of pictures that accompany the Spring/Summer collections I noticed one micro trend that seems to be reoccurring, albeit in a slightly different form – body modification. Chanel, who last season introduced fashionistas to elaborate tattoo transfers, […]


The Script

The script

By Natasha Coombes-Liddle / Tha-One.Newness Writer

While flicking through my stack of fashion magazines and surveying the mammoth load of pictures that accompany the Spring/Summer collections I noticed one micro trend that seems to be reoccurring, albeit in a slightly different form – body modification. Chanel, who last season introduced fashionistas to elaborate tattoo transfers, this season has moved on to pearl piercings. Fake of course, but nonetheless pretty and provocative. Certain forms of body modification are more or less mainstream these days – no one bats an eyelid at a pierced ear or a small tattoo, but to treat a physical alteration of the body as a disposable trend is a little worrying.

Chanel S/S 2012 with faux lip, eyebrow and ear piercing

I am tattooed and pierced and I love it. I have seven piercings – three in each ear and one in my nose, and a tattoo of three birds under my clavicle. Over the years I have seen friends with surface piercings, dermal implants and lots of crazy artwork inscribed on their bodies. The best bit is that you can never predict who will have what. I was shocked when the preppy girl in work displayed her dinky micro dermal implant on her wrist. It was great, small and sparkly, the micro dermal suited her perfectly.

               Micro dermal piercing: a plug of skin is removed and then the anchor is inserted. Source: deviantart.

I knew the trend for piercings was confirmed when I read two things. First, that Rooney Mara the star of the new Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie had got her nipples pierced for her role as Lisbeth Salander. I was impressed and then once I watched the film I winced. As a surface piercing nipples can take up to a year to heal and then add to that all the strenuous action that her body had to endure during filming. Well damn. Those nipple rings must have had a rough time of it, but no doubt it was another step for extreme piercings to become legitimised in the eyes of the public.

The second was when I learnt that you get pierced in the flagship Topshop store in Oxford Street. Would a girl out for day’s shopping really pick up a piercing as easily as the latest dress? It seemed such a blasé approach to body modification. I searched the net, talked about it with fellow body moders and got the same reaction; Topshop was an inappropriate place for a piercing salon.  Web forums worried about the hygiene and the skill of the employees in such a venue. As a responsible company, Topshop certainly would have had this covered, but I understood the sentiment. How could you trust someone you didn’t know with your body and make split second decision about allowing them to alter your appearance?  You can return a dress you don’t like but a piercing is pretty permanent, you can remove it but you will always be left with the scar tissue.

The first piercing I got after having my earlobes pierced as a child was my tragus, the funny bit of cartilage on the inside of my ear. Roughly eight years ago I had begged with my mum for months before she allowed me to get it done. Although I was certain of what I wanted done I hadn’t properly researched who should do it. I went to the local beauty salon that had full time piercist and it was a nightmare. The guy (who shall remain unnamed) was fully qualified but I learnt later didn’t have that great a reputation. While piercing my tragus he somehow managed to bend the needle in the cartilage and in order to save the piercing had to do some tricky manoeuvring with a second needle. It was agony, and it didn’t end there. Due to the trauma, it took longer than usual heal and I got an infection that spread down my jaw line. Now there is only one man that I allow to wield the piercing needle near my body, Stu from Otherside Piercings in Belfast. He came recommended by both my best friend and Google and all consequent piercings have been a doddle.

I don’t want to end this full of doom and gloom. More people should get pierced and pinched in as many fabulous ways as possible, but only if it is right for them and only if they can live with it on a permanent basis. I think it would be great to see a business man in a three piece suit stride into work with his septum pierced or a tattoo on his wrist. If you want to join the ranks of the body altered then here’s a quick guide to safe piercings.

  1. Choose carefully what you want done. If you want your lip pierced try a fake ring first, get used to it on your face. Not all piercings will suit everyone and the real thing doesn’t come with a trial run.
  2. Research your piercing salon.The best place to get pierced is usually an independent piercing salon that focuses solely on body modification. Even then competency ranges from place to place, person to person. Ask your friends who have been pierced who they use and search the web for reviews.
  3. Aftercare. Once pierced all salons should offer advice on aftercare. Follow it like it’s holy writ. You have an open wound on your body that needs the utmost care.  If you have any problems go back to your piercist, there should be no problem with this and they do have extensive knowledge of all body piercings. If they can’t help get t the doctor ASAP, an infection will need treated with antibiotics and piercings such as micro dermals can only be surgically removed.
  4. Enjoy! You do look awesome and edgy after all!

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