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It’s been a busy few years for best friends Taiba Akhuetie and Jessy Linton. The pair, who grew up together in South West London, launched their braiding business Keash Braids in 2015. Since their debut pop-up at a Hackney salon, the brand has gone from strength to strength, hosting temporary braid bars at fashion outlets including Urban Outfitters and Missguided.

Last year, they released their first book Braid It! offering step-by-step braiding tutorials. Their braid menu offers a host of elaborate styles, with a choice of embellishments including colour extensions, glitter, charms and rings. Styles typically last between 1-3 weeks, offering their clientele a new hair look without the commitment. INFRINGE caught up with the pair at their latest pop-up at Soho’s WAH Nails.

Image credit: Brett Russell

As longtime friends, what is it like to work together? Do you focus on separate elements of the brand or do you collaborate on every part?
We have known each other for 16 years so it’s great working together as we’ve always had similar interests in fashion, music and popular culture. We’re both from creative backgrounds (Taiba studied film and Jessy studied fashion design). We focus on different areas of the business, roles that we naturally fell into. While Taiba focuses heavily on PR, coming up with new ideas and networking, Jessy’s focus is more on the creative side – developing the website, creating bespoke menus for events and managing social media content.

Image credit: Michèle Côté
Image credit: Michèle Côté
Image credit: Brett Russell

Where do you find inspiration for new braid styles?
We look at various styles that already exist and add our own personal touch. This can either involve combining different styles and techniques or adding colour. Our mates inspire us a lot –  how they dress or how they style their own hair. We don’t just draw inspiration from other braids, we look at trends and seasonal colours. We’re also inspired by our clients, they’ll often ask us for styles they have seen in other countries or places.

Image credit: Olivia Richardson (for Illustrated People)
Image credit: Olivia Richardson (for Illustrated People)
Image credit: Michèle Côté

What are the best, and most challenging, aspects of operating as a pop-up?
We get to change up our environment all the time. However, I guess not having a set base means that we do sometimes have missed opportunities with clients.

What’s in store for the future?
We hope to offer more than just braids, but we don’t want to give too much away!

Image credit: Michèle Côté

Find out more about Keash Braids here www.keashbraids.co.uk


Interview Emma de Clercq
Images Michèle Côté Website michelecotephoto.com Olivia Richardson Website oliviarichardson.co.uk Brett Russell Website brettrussellldn.squarespace.com

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