Lou Christou Teams Up with Haircuts Transform

Inspired by his own struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction, Barber Lou Christou of Thy Barber in Brick Lane decided he wanted to help others in a similar position by helping to turn five recovering addicts into qualified hairdressers. His 12 stages of shaving-loosely based on the transformative personal recovery program– will take place over 12 Weeks. Starting in June, five recruits will be on display at Acorn House, a youth hostel for unsheltered people who are recovering and ready to take on the world.

When asked why he chose the project, Lou Christou commented: “I had started doing voluntary cuts at Acorn House and I was wondering if I could find a way to help some of the people I met. I know that when I first recovered, I needed structure, a clear Plan and a reason to get up every day.”

The program is run in partnership with Haircuts4Homeless after Lou contacted its founder Stewart Roberts MBE, who has also struggled with addiction over the years. “After asking if there was any interest in the program, I contacted Stewart, whom I had met through my collaboration with Acorn House. He himself knows the challenges that recovering addicts face. Hairdressing is a job that does not discriminate like some other professions, and it offers a lasting skill – good hairdressers will always be in demand.”

Stewart Roberts MBE of Haircuts4Homeless comments: “the consequences of addiction can be brutal. I know this through my own struggles and my 17 years of sobriety. Often those affected lose their jobs and are unable to think about a job, which shakes their self-esteem and self-confidence. Anything that serves to reconstruct people’s characters can have a transformative effect on the future course of their lives and we strongly believe in this at Haircuts4Homeless. We did not hesitate to join Lou’s 12 Step to Barbering program and we look forward to supporting the five recruits throughout their journey.”

The program was also made possible thanks to the generous support and sponsorship of the American Crew, BaByliss Pro, Denman and Matakki Scissors companies. In addition to providing its resources to open up new opportunities for the collective, American Crew has also provided the mannequin heads that the recruits will use for their training in addition to the equipment and products. BaByliss Pro provided clippers and hair dryers, Denman provided different brushes and combs for each recruit, as well as branded carrying bags, while Matakki Scissors provided five of its Toya scissors as well as Cutting Cloaks.

During their training, which aims to acquire basic knowledge about the barber, the five candidates receive expert lessons from leading barbers in the industry. After their 12-week training, the new recruits then attend a special graduation school at The American Crew Academy. Every Monday for six weeks, a multitude of renowned hairdressers share their knowledge in a series of seminars. The faces include members of the artistic team Mark Leeson, Ian Harrold from American Crew and hairdressers from Fella and Manifesto. The program will end with a platform presentation at the International Salon at the Modern Barber Stage on Saturday, October 14th.

Matt Horder, Managing Director of Revlon Professional UK and Ireland, comments“ “When me and the American Crew artistic team heard about this project, we wanted to do everything we could to support it. Knowing that he had the support of Stewart Roberts was an even greater attraction – his authenticity and dedication, as well as Lou’s obvious skills and passion for this program, could change the lives of these interns. We wish you a lot of success.”

Alex Burt, a representative of Matakki Scissors who joined other sponsors at Thy Barber at the beginning of the program, commented: “Initiatives like this are close to our hearts at Matakki. There is simply not enough support or opportunities for those who really need it, so we are proud to be able to do something that can give a boost to the most vulnerable in life. Scissors are the basic tool that these recruits need to master this profession, and we are honored to provide them.”