My Gmail cascades e-mails about upcoming events in London; to get your hands on those coveted Jude Law theatre seats or front row passes to Beyonce you have to be part of early-bird e-mail lists. Scrolling through endless events of no interest, you are sometimes rewarded with a Golden Ticket. Cursing my inbox the other day, whilst reading the e-shot from The Royal Albert Hall my eyes glanced down at an advertisement for ‘The Alternative Hair Show’ (AHS). After seeing some vibrant images recently on Pinterest of hair I was curious to learn what was ‘alternative’ about this show. I was even more delighted by my research than anticipated.
In 1983 hairdresser, Tony Rizzo, and his wife, Maggie, lost their first-born child, Valentino, to leukaemia at only 2 years and 7 months. To hit back at this vicious disease in the best way they knew they rallied their many friends in hairdressing worldwide for “…an entirely new and audacious charity fund raising event-The Alternative Hair Show.” The first show was held at at London’s Camden Theatre in October 1983, raising an impressive £7,500 which was donated to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, the UK’s leading blood cancer research charity. In January 2012, to mark the 30Th Anniversary of this unique fund raising initiative, it was decided to set up The Alternative Hair Charitable Foundation. The Foundation is a grant making trust committed to funding charities with established experience and expertise in the advancement of research into and the treatment and welfare of people suffering leukaemia and related cancers of the blood. Following 10 shows in Chicago, 2 in Bologna, 2 in Vienna, as well as 1 in Moscow, Seoul and Tokyo over £8.5million has been raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in the UK and to leukaemia charities in the host country. This year, the event will be hosted in the stunning setting of The Royal Albert Hall, London, on Sunday October 12th.
It is understandable why AHS believes that it “…is so much more than a charity event, so much more than a hair show. It is about an event that is close to the heart of many people within the hairdressing profession, inspiring, enthralling and entertaining” as the entire hairdressing industry is brought together to fight a disease and nurture its greatest talents. For instance, AHS is supported by the hair teams (many from household names) who each year fund their own presentations to appear in the show and the global trade media offer publicity and editorial coverage both prior and post the show. An intrinsic part of the evening is the International Visionary Award which “seeks and recognizes new talent.” The Award has grown over the last few years into an international photographic competition with finalists being invited to present a model during a separate part of the show which are judged by top hairdressers and journalists from across the globe. The AIPP Awards 2014-2015will also be taking place at this year’s AHS, with 5 award categories and one Grand Trophy.
The theme for AHS this year is ‘Equilibrium’, somehow I doubt we will see much of the traditional interpretation of this word.
This event proves that professional and personal worlds can unite for bigger causes, Should you not make it to the AHS but still want to support it then you can make a donation via the AHS website.