TEMPE, Arizona – Alexis Noriega’s business is to give people wings – literally – and her clientele ranges from Lady Gaga accessories to everyday people willing to splurge on a Halloween costume.
It was four years ago that Noriega, 31, founded The Crooked Feather, dedicated solely to designing and crafting wings.
After operating exclusively online for several years, she recently opened a studio/store here in Tempe, just outside Phoenix.
A lover of birds and their feathers since childhood, Noriega, the subject of a 2015 article in People magazine, has created wings that glisten, light-up and even retract and extend, allowing wearers to do almost anything short of actually flying.
While the pair she made for Lady Gaga carried a price tag of $6,000, other sets go for less than $100.
Everything depends on “what the customer wants,” the University of Arizona graduate told EFE.
Noriega, who has sold wing sets across the United States, and also in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan, France, Australia and Canada among other countries, says she is happy to have succeeded with an unusual concept.
“When I was a child I felt attracted to birds, I loved parrots, owls, chicken, ducks – any animal with feathers,” she said. “I love birds a lot, and that’s why I decided to create a first set of wings.”
The wings have a light metal frame and articulated joints covered with fabric and feathers, and a harness to hold the set on the client’s back. A small battery-operated engine allows the user to extend and fold the wings.
“I have learned that in the United States maybe three people are dedicated to making wings,” Noriega said. “It is a labor-intensive process requiring between 60 and 120 hours to complete a set. It is a work of love that must be done with patience.”