INDIE took a trip to Poland to shoot contestants of one of Eastern Europe’s many long hair competitions. Every summer, an unusual event takes place in the small Polish city of Poznań: the Festival of Magdalena’s Braid, named after Saint Mary Magdalene, whose long locks featured in biblical tales. Locals congregate for a day of festivities, the jewel in the crown the long hair competition. The rules are simple: she with the longest braid wins. INDIE was intrigued by the idea of these real-life Rapunzels, many with braids longer than a metre snaking down their backs. Armed with a suitcase packed with the latest designer collections and a single Polish- speaker between us, we photographed the women and girls we found in the streets and parks around the old town centre, learning about the personal significance of their hair, their views on shorter styles, and what it would take for them to give it all away.
Hair length: ABOUT 120 CM LONG.
What does your hair mean to you? IT MAKES ME STAND OUT.
What do you think about women with short hair? THEY LOOK NICE AND IT’S EASIER TO KEEP THEIR HAIR IN GOOD CONDITION. THEY JUST NEED TO MAKE SURE IT SUITS THEIR FACES.
Hair length: 122 CM
What does your hair mean to you? IT’S PART OF MY IDENTITY, IT’S MY GREATEST ASSET.
What are your hair goals or dreams? THAT IT WILL BE AS BEAUTIFUL ON THE DAY I GET MARRIES AS IT IS EVERY DAY.
Hair length: 89CM.
What is your hair dream? TO HAVE A BRAID LIKE SNOW QUEEN ELSA FROM THE DISNEY MOVIE FROZEN.
What do you think about women with short hair? THEY’RE PRETTY, BOYS LIKE THEM.
Hair length: 102 CM.
What do you think about women with short hair? I FEEL SORRY FOR THEM, BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE’S HAIR GROWS SLOWLY.
What would persuade you to cut your hair? I’D LIKE TO HELP CHILDREN WHO HAVE HAD CHEMOTHERAPY
Hair length: DON’T KNOW.
What does your hair mean to you? I THINK IT’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I HAVE TO OFFER.
What would persuade you to cut your hair short? MAYBE A MAIN ROLE IN A GOOD MOVIE
Hair length: 109 CM.
What do you think about women with short hair? EVERYBODY’S DIFFERENT; IF THEY WANT TO HAIR SHORT HAIR IT’S THEIR CHOICE. THEY LOOK BEAUTIFUL TOO.
What would persuade you to cut your hair short? I WOULD CUT IT TO HELP SOMEBODY, AND THAT WOULD BE REWARDING ENOUGH.
Hair length: 134 CM.
What does your hair mean to you? IT’S A SYMBOL OF FEMININITY.
What do you think about women with short hair? IT’S EASIER FOR THEM TO KEEP THEIR HAIR IN GOOD CONDITION
Photography CLARA NEBELING
Styling DOGUKAN NESANIR
Production LENNART SCHLAGETER
Creative consultant EWELINA GRALAK