Lafayette artist’s satirical fashion accessory made for NOLA | Arts

New Orleans is a city that’s always a little out of alignment. We’re a city of jolts, swerves and delays. We’re a city that leaks, caves in and is regularly forced to detour.

So it’s no surprise that the orange and white striped traffic cone has become an icon of our times, both an object of dread and a tongue-in-cheek badge of honor.

And it will also be no surprise when Lafayette artist Colette Bernard’s “Safety Cone” pop art hair claw becomes a big hit in the Big Easy.


Colette Bernard’s “Safety Cone” pop art hair claw could become a big hit in the Big Easy.

Simply let the teeth of the spring-loaded fashion accessory bite into your bun, or corral your ponytail, and you will have signaled your good-natured awareness of the crumbling infrastructure and general sense of impending NOLA doom for all the world to see.

Bernard, 24, has a degree from the renowned Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn and is a very savvy designer and social media entrepreneur. When a romantic breakup and the COVID pandemic landed her back in her childhood bedroom with nothing but time on her hands, she began selling stickers based on her designs via TikTok.

Then she scraped together what little savings she had to manufacture a tooth-shaped hair claw that became a sensation among — you guessed it — dentists.

She went on to design a prescription bottle-shaped hair claw, and another shaped like an anatomically accurate heart. One thing led to another and now she’s got a busy mail-order accessory design business that employs four.


Colette Bernard’s “Safety Cone” pop art hair claw could become a big hit in the Big Easy.

She said her “Safety Cone” hair claw was originally targeted at civil engineers, folks in the construction trade and driving instructors. But it really started “flying off the shelves” as soon as our friends over at the satirical New Orleans-based Instagram site lookatthisf-ingstreet got wind of it.

The $22, Chinese-made, bio-plastic artwork is utterly timely as a reformation of the Sewerage and Water Board is burbling on the new governor’s to-do list as we speak.

“Safety cones” are for sale at 

Bernard said she may come by her art-entrepreneurial spirit genetically. Her aunts Melanie and Martha Owens ran the bygone Louisiana Products deli in the 600 block of Julia Street in New Orleans, which fed the city’s downtown art crowd for decades.

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