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November 29, 2023
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Barberette: A Cut Above Gender Norms in Hairdressing

Klara was born in a small town in Czech Republic, where she grew up watching her mother work as a hairdresser. Spending time in her salon, she felt conflicted between her love for the convivial place and the community it built, and the gendered approach to hair cutting.

She originally did not mean to pursue a career in hairdressing though! Having studied environmental science in Czech Republic, she decided to move to the UK in order to improve her English and get a better chance at securing a job. She finally settled in a well-paying office job, which she quickly realized felt like a golden cage, as she missed the mental stimulation and human contact she had grown up within.

Klara began learning hairdressing (and later on barbering) in 2009, while remaining employed in her office. Doing pop-ups and events quickly became part of her routine, and she made the crucial decision to quit in 2011 in order to focus on the creation and opening of her own gender neutral barber shop, better known as Barberette, in London.

The concept for a gender neutral shop like Barberette came from her own frustration as a client. She felt revolted that, typically, women were charged way more than men for a similar haircut. But most importantly, she wanted her clients to get the haircut they actually wanted rather than being pushed into something more feminine (or masculine) that the stylist thought more appropriate. It was crucial for her to be able to provide a service where everyone, especially people part of the LGBTQIA+ community, would be able to express their individuality through their hair rather than be told what they 'should' be getting.

She successfully brought that project to life in 2012 in London, and even opened a second Barberette location in Prague a few years later. After growing attention for this cause, which resulted in international attention from the BBC, New York Times, Vogue and more, her persistence started to create a change in the industries approach to gender and pricing. Klara now mostly works in the Prague location, but visits London from time to time, making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Klara’s dream of creating a safe space for everyone has now become a reality: from being be able to accommodate special needs such as physical disabilities, creating a men-free space for muslim women to take their hijab off, or orthodox jewish mums to remove their wigs, or simply a place where everyone feels good and respected, Barberette is clearly a barber shop I’d love to visit one day.


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