Beehives, Bobs and Blowdries is Back!

by charlottegw / last updated August 5, 2022

beehives bobs exhibition andrew barton

Did you know that Beehives, Bobs & Blowdries, the first of its kind exhibition curated by fashion research consultant and renowned, award-winning hairdresser Andrew Barton (Hon Doc), is back?

We spoke to fashion research consultant and senior academic at Solent University, Donna Bevan (FRSA,) and Andrew to find out what we can expect from this year’s exhibition.

What is different about this year’s BBB event?

Andrew Barton (AB): Beehives Bobs & Blowdries originally launched in 2018 and like many creative projects and businesses had been hit by the pandemic, the ambition of Beehives Bobs & Blowdries was always to tour to showcase the narrative about hairdressing and its impact on trends, popular culture, innovation & history. We are delighted that the exhibition is back this autumn at the magnificent Piece Hall in Halifax and has evolved creatively both through the display of wigs worn on mannequins as well as the content narrative and overall look and feel of the exhibition.

Donna Bevan (DB): This time we have not only redesigned the exhibition journey and engaged with more expert voices, but we have also collaborated with some really key players in the real issues impacting on the hair and hairdressing Industry today. We wanted to share the importance of hair and allow the public to have a greater understanding of the real impact the industry is making and the important work of charities in the sector such as Haircuts 4 Homeless, whose exhibition is appearing alongside Beehives, Bobs & Blowdries.

Why is NOW the time to be talking about hairdressing as an art form?

AB: Hair is art and the pandemic has heightened the public’s perception of the importance of hairdressing and its importance to well-being, confidence and ultimately the role of the hairdresser not only as an expert but also as an unofficial coach and therapist. The hairdressing salon has had to evolve and adapt just like fashion post pandemic and never before has the role of the professional hairdresser been so appreciated. The industry is renowned for ever changing due to its connection to fashion and ultimately ,just like fashion and fabric, hair is material that can be shaped, coloured arranged into endless designs … just like art. It’s the aim of Beehives Bobs & Blowdries to share with the public, as well as specifically hairdressers, that connection to hair and art.

[Andrew Barton was the first UK hairdresser to be awarded a Doctorate of  Arts, for his services to the hairdressing industry. This was awarded by Southampton Solent University in 2019]

DB: The hair journey we follow examines the changes in hairdressing over the last 70 years, which actually shows that hair has always been treated as an art form by those innovators in the industry. The style press has been central to disseminating this and catwalk shows have allowed for session stylists to really explore the extremes.

However hair brands and creative direction teams have also been instrumental in bringing catwalk and street styles to the general public. Hair trade publications have aimed to show this at a more avant garde level of hair possibilities and platforms such as Instagram have given hairdressers their own stage and  just as with fashion we have the couture and the ready to wear

What do you think the public’s perception of hairdressers is? Why is this the case? What needs to change?

AB: Stylists are seen as see as an essential part of the public’s personal grooming and general well being. Not only is hairdressing pampering and taking care of one’s look but it’s an escape. The salon is a place of sanctuary and therefore seen as an essential rather than a luxury. Beehives Bobs & Blowdries aims to showcase that relationship between the stylist and client and the trust that is built through hair design, care and customer care.


Can you give us a tease of some of the key bits of this year’s exhibition? 

DB – We have new content and collaborations but we are also revisiting and examining how we display the key innovations in the industry . As I said before this also shows in the later stages in the exhibition where we are working with brands and charities to really understand the significance of hair today the way the industry is moving forward with sustainability (and the new companies that have formed to deal with the a more circular economy , such as The Green Salon Collective ) but also Importantly the understanding of the way in which key brands and companies such as L’Oreal Professionel  are progressing their education to really explore the future salon experience

Why and how do hairdressers play a vital role in society and as pillars of their communities?

AB: From the local village salon to the bigger branch high street city centre chains hairdressing is deeply connected to community and its tribes. Salons consider their brand appeal and their USPs to attract a certain clientele and the salon of the future will connect on a deeper level to the needs of the community –  not just based on the physical service but through personal relationships that are built. Ultimately the salon environment, atmosphere and experience are all what they client perceives as good value and something they want to be a part of. It’s a micro community within four walls, within the whole community and this includes specialisms in certain areas and unique services. My memory of the salon has a child was meeting my Mum and Grandmother at the salon on Friday afternoon when I finished school as they were transformed each week from the working class women they were to what I perceived as pure glamour. The chat and laughter of the salon may have been part of what made me become a hairdresser and now part of a wider community … the hairdressing industry.

From the  importance of the rituals of the salon the weekly appointment in the traditional salon for the shampoo and set  and the bespoke experience of the client hairdresser experience where magic happens and hair and client are transformed.Beehives, Bobs & Blowdries shows the importance of the salon in our lives past and present – what we see now are brands really learning from the past to develop the salons of the future the sensorial and experiential are significant factors in this.

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