Shigemi (JPN), hairdresser, Tokyo

 

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‘I’ve always been into rockabilly, so the hairstyling I do is mostly in a way connected to the rockabilly or pin-up world. I work at events, shows, do tie-ups with barbers, or sometimes even at a shop. I’m also touring as the personal hairstylist of a Japanese rockabilly singer, so this takes me around the world and all over Japan. When we were younger we all hung around at a shop in Harajuku called Cream Soda (now it’s called Pink Dragon). It was a shop in the style of rockabilly, rock ‘n roll, Happy Days, … From there everyone kind of spread out to become musicians or artists, but everyone kind of stayed true to the rockabilly lifestyle. At that time we had to discover it out on our own, though. You couldn’t find anything rockabilly-themed or -styled on television or in the media. It was unknown for most Japanese people.’

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‘I took a break from the rockabilly and hairdressing scene for more than 10 years, though. To become a rather strong defender of animal rights. After changing my diet to a vegetarian one, and later a vegan one, I also banned all animal-harming products from my life. I loved the pin-up style and the leather jackets of the rockabilly scene, but I couldn’t wear that anymore. It was a struggle as the people I was hanging out with had their own shops selling and designing leather jackets, but I couldn’t agree with it anymore. Going out for dinner – I loved junkfood before that – but not being able to join the carefree partying and eating anymore… It was a difficult time at some points to be honest. Luckily, fake leather, eco and animal-friendly products’ popularity has now spread wide among vegans and vegetarians, so it became a bit easier.’

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‘Then after 10 years, again by accident, I came in contact again with my old friends, asking me to help them out at events. That’s how I rolled back into the hairdressing world. That world changed a lot in the meantime; animal-friendly hair products are now easier to find and there are even ‘cut-only’ shops, so there’s a possibility to combine my love for animals activism and rockabilly hairstyling, something I couldn’t have dreamed of back in the days.’

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