PLACES: Housed in a former steel works, the salon’s bespoke design references the city’s industrial past
Photography: Aris Akritidis
Interview: Alex Mascolo
Special Thanks to Mitch Wilson
Considered to be one of the best independent salons in the North of England, Laundry was coined Sheffield’s new ‘super salon’ by both Stylist and Hairdressers Journal. Housed in a 19th century courtyard complex, before its restoration in 2013, the space was originally occupied by John Sellers and Sons, key players in Sheffield’s steel trade, and manufacturers of pocket knives, razors and cutlery.
“The building itself, and the courtyard, belong to Sheffield’s historic industrial past centred around the steel industry,” says owner Mitch Wilson. “The whole cultural quarter of which we are part of is filled with old workshops, and is fast becoming the side of Sheffield to be on.”
A sharp focus on branding has been key to the distinctive aesthetic of the salon. Named Laundry in reference to the community hub feel of launderettes, the 200 square metre space has been elegantly restored by design agency 93ft. Reclaimed wooden floors, classic leather chairs and a central concrete work table all contribute to a salon environment that feels informal and laid-back. “I often hear from others that we started the ‘anti-salon’ look and feel,” says Wilson, “but all we really wanted was something a little less formal and shiny, a place where our staff and clients would want to hang out”.
In keeping with the launderette theme, instead of haircut vouchers, clients can purchase personalised metal gift tokens in the style of antique washing tokens. Meanwhile, the Laundry Cafe, added in 2016, “acts as a soft introduction to the salon, relaxing the sometimes intense salon vibe,” and provides Sheffield locals with a welcoming place to spend time. We spoke to Laundry owner Mitch Wilson, who previously headed up Toni & Guy’s flagship store in the North of England, about the distinctive aesthetic behind Laundry.
Can you tell us about the ethos of your salon? Our ethos in general is very relaxed, but the devil is definitely in the detail. Both the stripped back look of the salon and a great, natural haircut need a good technique and execution, otherwise it’s just a mess.
“Our ethos in general is very relaxed, but the devil is definitely in the detail.”
How does the city of Sheffield influence what you do? I know it’s a bit of a northern cliché, but the people of Sheffield stand for no bullshit and are brutally honest, so from a service point of view – quality is a must. Stylistically it has an influence of course but in this era of global image saturation I think we have a pretty international look and appeal.
You have been named a ‘super Sheffield salon’. Can you tell us about this? Stylist recently coined the ‘Super Salon’ moniker. I think firstly this refers to our size of 200 square metres, which was a very important element to me, as salons are often, mainly for economic reasons, cramped and cluttered units, with little or no room for good design. I suppose that it’s the other elements within the business, like the coffee shop, the detail and the bespoke furniture, which has helped set us apart. But most of all I like to think it refers to a hair salon that’s loud and proud, which takes its place at the top of the retail table, amongst the heavyweights of the high street.
What kind of experience do you want clients to have when coming to your salon? A fucking great one, I hope!
Laundry is at 151 Sellers Wheel, Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NU