Are you ready to be the change?

As the #badsalon clients emerged from their appointment, awaiting them were a series of thought provoking pieces exploring the state of the hairdressing industry. Ky breaks down the meaning behind each of them…


Toxic environment

"Two 'stylists' wearing gas masks were liberally spraying a wig (that I'd already styled) with fake hairspray canisters. This was designed as a comment on how toxic our work environment is – both in terms of our physical health with all the fumes; our mental health with the long hours spent on our feet, the low starting wages and perception of the industry as a whole; and the bad business habits that persist."

Ego balloon

"A helium-filled balloon with 'EGO' written on it in Sharpie was floating towards the middle of the room. Next to it was a giant pin on a string dangling down. This was all about asking 'Who is brave enough to pop someone’s ego?' We had five spares in the back waiting in case people managed to pop it, and the first person who did was actually my girlfriend Lauren."

Freelancer poster

"A lot of people go freelance thinking they're going to get a better deal, but actually once they pay tax, they might as well just be employed because they're working like they're employed (with exclusivity the same hours) and they miss out on the benefits of holiday and pension. I spoke to a lot of freelancer friends to come up with this list, and the poster sort of shatters the illusion of freelance meaning more freedom in the majority of salons."

Protest banner

"A creative outlet for me at the moment is writing lyrics. Whenever I feel frustrated or whatever – personally or because of a situation – I just start writing loads of things down and I find it really helps, especially when I'm in a negative frame of mind. I take the dog for a walk or a go for a run and I just start coming up with and repeating these lines in my head, and by the end of it, I've written a song. This statement was one of those lyrics."

Photoshoot crew

"This poster featured a mock up of me on set, saying 'I do it for the passion.' There's so much sh*t I do for free, while at the same time the rest of the crew are being paid. As hairdressers, we gain nothing from this situation other than the creative outcome, whether that's an image or campaign. It's a huge problem for our industry, especially for independents and freelancers who don't get paid a regular wage, or anyone who has to work the day back to make up time spent outside the salon"

Projected film and flag

"I wanted to have something dynamic, captivating and a bit of fun that featured the 'Stop trying to be f*cking famous' line, so we filmed a little clip out the back of my salon. That's me in the mask, but it was meant to make me a bit more anonymous, and I had the flag made a couple of days before. It's about going against the tide and learning your trade before you try and get famous."

'Pull me'

"This featured hair extensions hanging down through a hole in the wall. The 65-inch wig was created by Luke Pluckrose and was attached to a girl who screamed every time someone yanked them. The aim was to highlight how demand for wigs and extensions has increased and how we need to sort out how ethically they are sourced. It's interesting – we use extensions to make people feel better about themselves, but would they still feel that way if they knew where the hair had come from?"

Ring light

"Backs of heads are taking over people's feeds. This a photo op area and the sign says 'What's wrong with my face?' It's two fold – one, people are styling the same head of hair four different ways and spacing out the posts just to create boring, unnatural 'content'. And it's also about the fact that we spend 3-4 hours making someone feel better about themselves and then we go and take a picture without their face in it. Tik Tok and (non-Facetuned) client selfies are more real and relatable."

The final installation featured an audio track that guests listened to via headphones. Mounted on the wall was a poster repeating its sentiments. “I chose a Morgan Freeman voiceover for this monologue just because his voice is f*cking cool and people know it as soon as they hear it,” said Ky. “A client of mine, musician Lewis Watson, scored the track. I wanted something that explained the concept of what the guests had just experienced in the salon, but that was open-ended.  I wanted to leave people both inspired and spurred into action.”

Hit play below to hear the track in full.