When you have lived in more than one city, region or country you start forming a mental checklist of essential industries and services that you need to lookup and explore when you arrive in your new environment. Finding a suitable hair salon or barber is likely at the top of many people’s checklists. After arriving in Teesside, it was in fact one of the first things I looked for. With the UK being one of the pioneering countries in hair styling, innovation and trends, there are many award-winning hairdressing brands, which are well-known and respected internationally. Each region also has a number of smaller hair salons established exclusively in that particular area, often offering the same quality and service yet tailored to the salon owner’s unique vision and personality.
The creative buzz of the first hair salon I visited in Middlesbrough inspired the Hairstylists writing project. Its aim is straightforward: capture the atmosphere, the quality of service and the personalities of three different hair salons in the North East. No distinction will be made between hair salons established as chains or as a single branch. What is important is the client’s experience at a particular salon and the personal touch that the stylists themselves bring to this experience.
My visits to these salons, however, are not meant to be ordinary visits. Rather, I would like to give a select number of hairstylists the opportunity to be as creative as they want, to do what they enjoy, to do what they excel at. It is also meant as a way to discover and appreciate the precision, artistry and originality found in various corners of the North East, this time through the haute couture of hairstyling.