Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Bright Stuff; Beauty the Dalston Salon That Brought Rainbow Hair to the Masses Is Giving Soho a Serious Blast of Colour, Says Emma McCarthy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Bright Stuff; Beauty the Dalston Salon That Brought Rainbow Hair to the Masses Is Giving Soho a Serious Blast of Colour, Says Emma McCarthy

Article excerpt

Byline: Emma McCarthy

DO YOU remember a time when the sight of a girl with pink hair would elicit some sort of reaction? Perhaps some whispered comments? A few turned heads? Or even a raised eyebrow? No, neither do we. So prolific is the cult of dipdyeing in the capital that most of us now fail to notice that another person's hair doesn't register on the natural colour scale.

But hold onto your sunglasses because the future is about to get even brighter for the capital's technicolour troops. Alex Brownsell and Sam Teasdale -- the brains behind Dalston's hair institution Bleach and the pair almost single-handedly responsible for the capital's en-masse adoption of rainbow-tinted tips -- are preparing to extend their colouring brushes beyond the outskirts of E8 right into the heart of W1.

In two days' time, Soho's Berwick Street will welcome its very own Bleach salon. Cue even more pasteltinted 'dos popping up on inner-city streets and in office blocks the capital over. But even with the acceptance of dip-dye hair jobs in mainstream culture, is Soho ready for its first taste of Bleach? "Absolutely," says Teasdale. "Soho has an inspiring history as a place for poets, punks, and creative energy to mix and mingle. Hopefully we can contribute something to that history."

As with all the best origin stories, Bleach started life in a kitchen. "We used to host hair parties," says Brownsell, who was working as a session stylist at the time, "with tons of people all helping out and making new colours and trends." From there, best friends Brownsell and Teasdale (then a creative talent agent) decided to move up Kingsland Road and open a two-chair pop-up salon in the back of WAH nail bar -- or as Brownsell describes it, a "Dalston dive bar hair shop". "We wanted somewhere we could hang out, do friends' hair and experiment with colour and styles in a way you'd never see anywhere else."

Of course, such a loud approach to hair colour was never destined to stay secret for long. Five years and a full salon expansion later -- along with a concession in the basement of Topshop's flagship Oxford Circus store, a line of DIY dye products and even a pop-up bar on Kingsland Road (serving cocktails with names such as Wonky Direction in honour of Sam's twin sister Lou Teasdale, the official hair stylist for 1D) -- and the Bleach hair revolution has come to define a generation of post-noughties London.

But neither Brownsell nor Teasdale could have predicted the pace at which the trend took root. "We never anticipated this style of hair colour and dip-dyes going so mainstream," says Teasdale -- a fact she attributes to the capital's irrepressible creativity. "London has a really exciting energy that feels very much rooted in street style and youth culture," she says. "Young people here are not afraid to express themselves and be bold with their personal style, letting their individuality shine. …

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