Have you ever felt unwelcome in mainstream hair salons or barbers? Have you feared getting a haircut because of how you will be judged, and all the incorrect assumptions the salon staff will make? For many LGBTQ folk, getting the haircut they want, at a price they can afford is a an ongoing battle.
Thankfully, for those who live in London, this has been a whole lot easier over the last five years. Founded in 2011, Open Barbers is a hairdressing service for all lengths, genders and sexualities, co-directed by Greygory Vass and Felix Lane. They operate as a Social Enterprise, have taken part in many events and festivals, plus are developing training workshops around LGBTQ inclusion for teachers and students of hairdressing. They really are as welcoming as the name suggests too:
‘Open Barbers offer a personalised and warm haircutting experience with a queer and trans friendly attitude. We celebrate the diversity of human beings by offering haircuts that are free of gendered language, that promote people to be in control of their appearance, and that give people the chance to have a haircut that is more in line with their identity or preferred style. Anyone is welcome, including friends. We aim to make Open Barbers are welcoming space to hang out in, with a range of teas, biscuits, and zines to make you feel at home.’
After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Open Barbers are now preparing to move to a new home. Their new salon will offer a haircutting service plus will also ‘serve as a social space to have tea, meet others, read zines and hang out.’ Their new location is near Old Street, Hackney, and will be open for its first appointments later this month. Having donated to the fundraiser and received my reward, I’ve had a chance to chat to some of the wonderful people who make the Open Barbers’ community so special. Good luck to Greygory, Felix and everyone else involved in getting the salon ready for business! I look forward to popping in for tea very soon.