Greygory Vass, co-founder of Open Barbers, has been recognised in this year’s Independent on Sunday’s Rainbow List, a celebration of the 101 most influential people in the LGBTI community.
The Finsbury Park local made number 95 on the annual list for his hairdressing salon with “a queer friendly attitude” which he began after his own negative experiences of the industry.
“I’m a transgender person and I’ve always had difficulty going into hairdressing spaces because they are so segregated around gender,” the 36-year-old said.
“Even when they are unisex salons they treat men and women as separate in terms of haircuts people of certain genders want.”
Greygory began Open Barbers to pilot a different approach to hairdressing in 2011, and four years later it has just moved locations from Finsbury Park to Kennington.
Greygory added, “the approach we take is about being client lead, allowing and trusting people to decide for themselves how they want to look.”
Sophie Cooper, a customer for over a year said, “I really like how they describe haircutting processes without ascribing gender to things, so in a way that opens up the possibilities”.
For Greygory however, being on the list isn’t about fame.
“What it says to me is not “Oh, I’ve made it as a celebrity!” but that the list is paying attention to grassroots work and making space away from LGBTI superstars.”
But whereas most people might want their brand to grow, the hairdresser dreams of a day when the concept of his salon will be irrelevant.
“Maybe one day we won’t need Open Barbers anymore because this kind of work will feel obvious, but at the moment it doesn’t feel like that.”
Greygory and his co-director, Felix Lane, will be launching a crowdfunding initiative next month to raise money for the salon.
PHOTO CREDIT: SUSIE COEN