OOO-ing Studio, the hair salon defying Taiwan’s beauty taboos

Gerard Ortiz

Bringing jellyfish cuts and acid-neon colour to the streets of Taiwan’s quickest-expanding town, the Day-Glo masterminds guiding OOO-ing Studio have kickstarted a movement, tackling social taboos head-on to notify stories by hair

Taken from the winter season 2022 issue of Dazed. You can buy a copy of our newest concern here

Tucked into a silent, slender alley, it would be straightforward to miscalculation OOO-ing Studio for just yet another hair salon in Taichung’s Nantun district. A skateboard sits exterior as decoration, as it would at the foot of university student halls or a shared property. Based on the working day, you may well see a bicycle or scooter parked nearby (for young people today in Taiwan, scooters are the manner of transport du jour). Within, blinding fluorescent lights illuminate a stark white inside, and tall vertical mirrors sit in front of the space’s five buyer seats. For a salon that has develop into environment-renowned for providing new perspectives on the art of hair dying, the studio is sparse on color and room.

Most likely this is fitting. As the studio’s artwork director, Mild Liou, describes, the intention was to make it glance like a laboratory for hairstyles. “When we commence work each individual day, we’re like, ‘Let’s try something new these days,’” she states. “We’ve gotten used to seeking out new suggestions all the time. People are frequently curious about it, but for us, it is develop into rather ordinary.” The studio was started in 2019 by mates Liou, Could Wang and Wesley Wei, just as Taichung grew to become Taiwan’s fastest-increasing metropolis, possessing overtaken the southern port town of Kaohsiung as Taiwan’s second most populated town. “We didn’t open the keep for a particular explanation,” claims Wang, when we sit down with Liou to chat in the studio. “But we had the very same perception of direction.”

However the studio’s stereo pumps throbbing techno, the atmosphere is laid-back again and subtly electric
as we assemble to communicate. “We wanted a place of our very own, an natural environment where we could have far more
simplicity in our development,” Liou clarifies. The salon’s title is derived from the point that most Chinese names
comprise 3 people its ethos, states Liou, is to assistance persons realise and embrace each aspect of
themselves. “To be blunt about it, we’re all weirdos,” she says. “[But] when we get together and dangle out, we can actually understand what is weird about us. We often turn out to be close friends with our customers, who in flip could possibly convey their have mates by, or it might be that we conclusion up supporting them with performances or projects. It is a system of mutual aid.”

Their dream is increasing. The Nantun District salon is OOO-ing Studio’s second site in Taichung – the initially was a tiny 3-seat salon in an apartment– and now, their impact is felt significantly over and above the confines of the metropolis. Though most of their Instagram followers are Taiwanese, the studio has obtained a wave of worldwide consideration this year. “In the beginning, we didn’t assume we would truly have an audience,” admits Liou, “but once we designed one particular, we have been initially nervous, and then we little by little came to really feel a feeling of accomplishment.”

OOO-ing Studio’s signature models involve airbrushed tints of neon Y2K-ish color, and having strategic benefit of the normally black hair of their typical shopper. The use of paintbrushes as a substitute of typical hair dye applications provides a more layer of dimensionality, making for complex latticeworks of styles, tones and shades. Outside of textural color, the three are elite hair-shapers, specialising in facial area-framing jellyfish cuts and a bewildering use of asymmetry. “We feel each individual man or woman has their possess design, with regards to how they communicate, how they interact with other persons, how they gown or what they like to consume,” says Liou. “[Too many] people today pursue what is preferred. I don’t consider people should be categorised as being of 1 design or a further. It’s a thing you choose on on your own.” The trio technique their work from a standpoint of “total creation”, Liou raising an analogy with theatre. “In the previous, it’d be additional [about] using care of clients and their desires and building changes,” she claims. “Now, we want to make it so each individual human being is a character. Like, you [Brian] are a character, I’m a character, and May perhaps is also a character.”

For Liou and the staff, an impressionistic method to hair is a suggests to rebel against lingering countrywide taboos. “In Taiwan, the ‘mainstream’ has a perception of security for some men and women,” says the artist, whose marble-influence fashion could nonetheless provoke moderate offence on the streets of her city. In this perception, the studio is closer to a motion than a common startup enterprise, and they recognise the salon’s wider social and cultural impact. Traditionally, coloured hair has been stigmatised in a society that the moment noticed authoritarian rule, with constraints on hair size for men. In 2020, Freddy Lim, a Taiwanese politician and former frontman of the black-metallic band Chthonic, was smeared as a drug addict and sexual deviant by opponents simply because of his formerly extended hair. A couple of months prior to my assembly with OOO-ing, Taiwan’s optimum government oversight body, the Manage Yuan, announced an investigation into a high university for corporal punishment versus college students that violated hair and costume codes.

OOO-ing Studio’s operate is no for a longer time about basically dying hair or perfecting designs that presently exist, but telling individual stories, portray pics and weaving messages into locks. “Hair doesn’t stand for every little thing, but if you want to have green now and purple tomorrow, there’s nothing at all improper with that,” claims Liou. “This is something we want to inform everyone. That it is not just one particular choice, but you have lots of options, whether that is hair or if not.” Setting up store kickstarted a method of creative and conceptual refinement that feels boundless for the group. Over and above collaborations with Farfetch and Swedish eye don manufacturer Sunshine Buddies, the trajectory is much less about pocketing the upcoming significant job
and a lot more about growing the palate of possibility.

As I pack up to depart the area, I inquire the trio what can make OOO-ing various from other salons in Taiwan, and what continues to assist it thrust the boat out for burgeoning hair creatives the earth above. For Liou, the studio’s USP is that it has become a beating heart for the city’s thriving arts scene, which in flip inspires the group to thrust boundaries and feed off fresh new suggestions. “[Our clients’] pursuits are commonly artwork-associated, and we also bring in [the kind of] prospects that may possibly be, say, bank clerks, but who have a streak of pink hair,” she states. “We consider to operate on employing suggestions collaboratively to generate a design. For us, this is a bit much easier than just doing the job on a hairstyle.” For Wang, the solution is extra simple: “These are men and women that seem to have the exact aesthetic as us,” she claims. “A compact minority of people in modern society have arrive collectively.”

Photography TUM LIN, OOO-ing Studio director Light-weight LIOU, hair WESLEY WEI and May possibly WANG, casting May well WANG, versions ALLEN, JUNG KUO, GINNY LI, NICOLE HUANG

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