Not-for-profit hair salon for all sexualities to open in Hackney

Pic: James E. Smith

Open Barbers is a not-for-profit hair salon which caters for all genders, sexes and hair lengths Pic: James E. Smith 2014

A new not-for-profit hair salon is to open in Hackney to provide a hair cutting and barber service for people of all sexualities and genders.

Open Barbers has successfully raised £25,000 after launching a crowd funder campaign to open the permanent salon in Old Street, Hackney.

It comes after a year when there were 1,725 reported incidents of homophobic hate crimes in London, an increase of 27 per cent, with Hackney seeing a 61 per cent rise in twelve months. These figures released by the Metropolitan Police Service prompted debate about services available to the LGBT community.

Director Greygory Vass hopes to run the space as a salon-come-community-centre for the LGBT community.

He told Eastlondonlines: “We provide hair cuts that are not prescriptive around gender, it’s a safe space where no-one makes assumptions, letting the individual take control over their image.”

Before the crowd funder campaign directors Greygory Vass and Felix Lane occupied temporary spaces across London, but demand for their inclusive service has grown. The current salon in Kennington is fully booked two weeks in advance and offers up to 75 appointments a week.

With people still able to make donations, the pair said the extra money will go towards subsiding “more affordable haircuts for those who are unwaged or on low incomes”.

Pic: James E. Smith

The salon is open to everyone but particularly for people who identify as queer, trans and non-binary Pic: James E. Smith 2014

Open Barbers prices operate on a sliding scale of between £10-£40 with those in financial difficulties able to pay less. Five times a week it offers haircuts priced at a reasonable £2-£10.

The salon in Hackney, like the one in Kennington, will be open to everyone regardless of gender identity or sexuality. Vass says hairdressers can be “upsetting for people who are transitioning between genders” and who then have to contend with gendered pricing — with those wanting female styles often paying a higher price.

The funds raised will go towards a refurbishment to make the new venue wheelchair friendly. A private room will also be created for those who would prefer discretion when having their hair cut.

All four of the Eastlondonlines boroughs saw an increase in the number of homophobic hate crimes reported last year.

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