Japanese wigmaker Tomihiro Kono combs through ideas on identity

In his new book Personas 111, wigmaker Tomihiro Kono examines the identity-shaping properties of hair

multiple images of a man wearing various coloured wigs
(Image credit: TBC)

These days, identity is as much a verb as it is a noun. It's something that is constantly in motion, ever changing and routinely able to morph from one thing to another. Japanese wigmaker and artist, Tomihiro Kono has released a new book that examines this mutability of identity through wigs.

Personas 111 displays an array of Kono’s masterful creations, from wavy platinum locks to cobalt blue mullets. The wigs, modelled by photographer Cameron Lee Phan, demonstrate the particular power hair has in shaping our perception of an individual’s character. ‘Wearing a wig also enables us an instant transformation,' Kono writes. ‘It is fun to create multiple characters that exist in ourselves – it is almost like choosing your outfit of the day from your wardrobe.'

a man with purple wig

(Image credit: TBC)

man wearing orange curly haired wig

Top, Cameron Lee Phan, As feautered in Personas 111, published by konomad. Bottom, Image from the chapter 'Gender-blending Transformations' in Personas 111

(Image credit: Sayaka Maruyama)

Kono worked as a stylist before moving into a wig making, a practice he found ripe with creative potential. Honing the skills he developed working with hair for 20 years, he learned the ins and outs of wig making – from the various techniques for knotting hair into lace foundations, to the methods for dying, sculpting and styling the strands.

He has displayed the wigs in interactive exhibitions, where visitors could try on an array of styles and, in the process, an array of personalities. Now, with Personas 111, Kono has brought the put the art of identity shifting into our hands. 

Of course markers of identity run much deeper than personal style, but while we navigate the boundaries of ‘who we are’ it’s good to see how, in some ways, those distinctions can so easily change. So who will you be today?

man in wig with long pink straight hair

(Image credit: Sayaka Maruyama)

man with long yellow hair over his face

(Image credit: Sayaka Maruyama)

man with curled blond hair

(Image credit: Sayaka Maruyama)

man with orange combed over hair

(Image credit: Sayaka Maruyama)

man in wig with short light purple hair

(Image credit: Sayaka Maruyama)



Writer and Wallpaper* Contributing Editor

Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.