“I knew I had gained the full “London Look” when I found myself with a half shaven head by the iconic London styling of Toni&Guy, with Label M."
Since moving here I found the transition into dressing like a Londoner exciting and fun, but also demanding. People here dress to impresses, both others and themselves, every time they step out the door. At first I didn’t know if I loved this or hated this, because I no longer stood a chance of being the best-dressed person in the room. What I love though is that here no one is the best-dressed person in the room; there is too much uniqueness and diversity to have one stand out person anywhere. I have now settled on that I love the level of effort people put into their outfits, it makes every walk down the street interesting. I do think though I fit in for the most part now, because here you fit in by standing out, and a little bit of lipstick.
However, I had not reached full transition until I changed my look a little more drastically than loafers, which, honestly, I still don’t own yet. Before moving here I told my Mum, who I describe as being the exact same person as me, that the one thing I was excited about being away from her was that I could change my hair whenever I wanted. I was always allowed to do what I wanted with my look, however there were some strong opinions given. Opinions I do have to give credit to for not letting me loose all my hair and go bald from dying it by the time I was 15. So I’ve had big plans to change my hair since I got here.
Opportunity for this change arouse when at London Fashion Weekend I was approached by a promoter for Toni&Guy and Label M, the brand of products which Toni&Guy stylists and salons use in the UK. The plug was the same as many people hear at events such as this, “I love your look, we’re looking for new models and people to work on, you could get free stuff, and fill out this form.” I did so even if it was just for an email list, I have needed a haircut for a while anyway, and did not think of it much after. I was slightly surprised one morning when I checked my phone and had a voicemail from Gary France, of Label M, asking me if I would be willing to come in for a consolation and possibly do a hair show the following week. I was instantly supper excited to have my hair in some of the best hands in the industry and also have the opportunity to do a show.
What surprised me most about this whole experience was when I was sitting in a casting room with France and he was looking at my hair while explaining the campaign of Label M. Which is edgy, urban, young London street style. While saying this he mentioned that he would love to do a half shave. I said yes! Without hesitation just a “Yes. Why not? I’ll try something new.” I am not sure what it was that made me say yes so freely, as I am, well was, emotionally attached to my long mermaid hair. Things are changing in my life though, so I guess it was just time for my look to change too.
Next thing I know it was the day of the hair show at the Mayfair Hotel and I was trying on the most punk outfits I had ever worn, studded vests and leather corseted belts. It felt like a quick second later I was sitting in the chair on stage while hairstylist and salon owners alike were watching while the process of cutting my hair was being talked through. That is probably when I realized exactly what I got myself into. While hair is hair I have had the same look for basically my entire life, so going from Canadian mermaid to London street style is a big change. By this point though it was far too late to turn back, and I’m so glad I didn’t have the option to consider. Then with what seemed like one snip goes over half my hair on to the floor. I was shocked but then took a deep breath and embraced it. While trying to closely listen to what France was saying, so I would be able to style my hair the same way on my own.
One of the scariest parts was that while I was on stage I could not actually see what was being done on my own head. I had to wait till I was done and had photos taken before I could sneak in to the back and see a mirror. It was crazy. Maybe because I had the punk rock look going is why it was crazy to see myself like that. Over all I instantly did like it though! Something I learned was that when you are getting a completely different look, even when you are putting yourself completely in the artists hands, do not be scared to speak up. I know that I’ve had my hair died, white blonde, and hated it but pretended I liked it and then cried in the car and got it changed the next day. I think we’ve all been there. But don’t! It’s your head and the hair stylist’s job is to create a look that both looks incredible and suits you. For me, at the show, France had given me a bit of a side burn that really wasn’t my thing. I asked him if he could cut it off, even if it had to be after the show, as I was going out for a finally. Instantly after me expressing a complaint though he whipped out his scissors and clipped to my hearts content. Without being offended at all “its all part of the process”
I returned to my flat and, of course, started taking selfies. To send to my friends, my mum, and to see just exactly how this new look would work. When I was alone and able to try out doing different things to it and see how it could be worn; hair flipped to expose whole shave, or middle parted for a shaggy style. This is when I really started to love it. It was playful and risqué, while also being masculine and fashion forward. If you live in London you are probably thinking, “It’s a half shave… so many of my friends have those…. I have one….this girl needs to calm down.” but if you are from a small town in Canada, this is revolutionary. Only that supper far out girl you saw in a supper hip coffee shop has one.
Over a week later I am still loving and embracing my new look. I am not saying it has been effortless. I didn’t even bring any hair products with me to London, but I have found with layers it is much better to put a little product in. The volumeizing and texture spray from Label M, praise! (So good I went out and bought it myself, so not even shamelessly promoting) I’ve also had a different perception on outfits a wear, much as your style slightly changes when you have long or short hair, sadly no more hiding bra straps with my hair. I’m thankful for my look change. It’s one more step in the process in evolving my life. I also think it will make me more daring in the future. Here I come coloured armpit hair!