Royal College of Art graduate Billur Turan’s Substitutes project is a set of wearable objects, designed to support the therapy of Trichotillomania. This "focussed repetitive disorder” sees an individual damaging his or her appearance, or causing physical injury to themselves, by pulling their own hair.
Turan created objects that work to form part of stimulus control with behavioural therapy being one of the main components. It works by involving non-destructive forms of stimulation to help the “rearrangement of routines and environments”.
The Substitutes objects serve as a distraction from causing actual damage to the hair by moving the hair away from the body, like onto a necklace or earring. Turan explains: “Each object would be used temporarily till the next stage of recovery. However since slipbacks are common, Substitutes would be kept both as a reminder of this fact and as an encouragement for continuous effort.”
The objects in the Substitutes collection use a variety of materials including ash, walnut, sterling silver, synthetic hair and velvet. The objects also offer a variety of solutions as some may need distraction from their problem while others may prefer it to cause curiosity and help them talk about it.