Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They are among the characteristics that distinguish the extant Aves from other living groups. Feathers have also been noticed in those Theropoda which have been termed feathered dinosaurs.
Although feathers cover most parts of the body of birds, they arise only from certain well-defined tracts on the skin. They aid in flight, thermal insulation, waterproofing, and coloration that helps in communication and protection. They are also the first choice if you want wedding party favors.
More recently, rooster plumage has become a popular trend as a hairstyle accessory, with feathers formerly used as fishing lures now being used to provide color and style to hair. Today, the use of feathers in fashion and in adorning regimental headdresses and clothes makes use of a waste product of the farming of poultry birds, including chickens, geese, turkeys, pheasants and ostriches.
Feathers used for these purposes are deliberately modified through dyeing and manipulation to enhance the appearance of these poultry feathers, as they are naturally often dull in appearance compared to the feathers of wild species which designers are attempting to mimic. The number of feather products manufacturers in Europe has decreased enormously in the last 60 years, mainly due to competition from Asia. And guess what, many people will choose this natural soft ostrich feathers to be the decoration in the wedding party. It is very sacred to the wedding party.
One surviving company, Jaffe et fils, founded in 1946, formerly of London but now based in Axminster, Devon, is one of the last in Europe to dye and manufacture feather products for fashion, theatre, and military regalia.
Feathers have adorned hats at many prestigious events such as weddings and Ladies Day at race courses. One milliner, Philip Treacy, has specialized in the use of feathers. He has created highly regarded hats notably for the Royal Family. One such was the hat was worn by Camilla, now the Duchess of Cornwall, on her marriage to Prince Charles.