Alexandria Masse calls her handmade, one-of-a-kind headpieces "wearable art."
Alexandria Masse calls her handmade, one-of-a-kind headpieces "wearable art."

Meet the Halifax textile artist whose headpieces have gone viral

Alexandria Masse's handmade balaclavas make sub-zero style achievable.

The fashion world never stops spinning. Even during our past two years in the great indoors, when sweat suits ruled supreme and bras became a shorthand for a bygone era, getting dressed was a cultural impetus that refused to die. After all, if you’ve got Instagram, you still need an #OOTD.

The latest example of accessorizing innovation? Balaclavas. From Miu Miu’s Autumn-Winter 2021 collection to Kim Kardashian’s last Met Gala look, face-shielding headwear has been all over recent runways and red carpets. The best part, though? There’s a Halifax textile artist whose funky, crochet take has garnered international attention, from a spotlight in Dazed magazine to an almost-overnight 44,200 Instagram followers during the pandemic.

Masse is inspired by her pet rabbits: "They have floppy ears, so I thought: What if I add ears to it?'" - ALEXANDRIA MASSE
Alexandria Masse
Masse is inspired by her pet rabbits: "They have floppy ears, so I thought: What if I add ears to it?'"


“I started making them kind of by accident...I was trying to make a patchwork cardigan and I didn't have enough, so I started placing them on the face. And that's what kind of led me to developing my own unique style of creating headpieces,” Alexandria Masse told The Coast in a phone call about her one-of-a-kind works of wearable art.

Masse’s pieces are inspired by everything from her pet rabbits (“I live alone, so through the pandemic, they were like my little buddies, my little roommates”) to the quirky teapots that dotted her childhood. She describes the balaclavas as “the perfect mixture of soft sculpture and soft elements alongside fashion,” and fans the world over have been snapping them up from her online shop. “I’ve had customers send me photos of them wearing it while walking their dogs,” she says. “It’s just so cute.”

Masse says the key to pulling off these looks offline is treating the headpiece as the outfit's star. - ALEXANDRIA MASSE
Alexandria Masse
Masse says the key to pulling off these looks offline is treating the headpiece as the outfit's star.

When it comes to pulling off the avant-garde look in real life, Masse says treating the headpiece as the star is key. “I think of it as another hat or another accessory that you can match to whatever you’re wearing. And you can base the whole outfit off of it because it’s kind of an extravagant piece,” she says, adding each handmade headpiece is made from locally sourced, 100 percent wool yarn from Briggs & Little—and can take up to 30 hours to create. “I feel like a lot of people have just reached the point, especially through the pandemic, where they're just like: Oh, I can enjoy whatever I want to enjoy. I can enjoy fashion however I want. And you know, who cares? If I enjoy it, that’s what matters.

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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