Tuttii Fruitti is the latest offering to Deptford's burgeoning creative scene. Inside the salon, multi-coloured hair trimmings fall to the floor and discarded paintbrushes bright with dye rest against the illustrated walls. The founders, Toni and Tuttii are as unique as their salon is. Starting their business out of a revamped caravan in an abandoned school -- the pair have opened a permanent shop to bring a punk clown aesthetic to the masses. During a time when gender and identity are constantly being defined then redefined, the salon offers non-binary and binary individuals alike a chance to break from traditional hairdressing norms and tiptoe into a more adventurous world. i-D spoke to the duo to learn more about their new venture.
Talk to me about the origins of Tuttii Fruitti.
Tuttii: I've always worked in barbershops in London but strongly felt the lack of creativity in the industry. When I started to look for places to start my own business, I found this old caravan in the back of the Bird's Nest, our local pub and hangout in Deptford. It was going for £200 so I bought it and with the help of all my crew we gutted it out and rebuilt the inside, converting it into a colourful cave.
There's a very punk feel to you guys' style and aesthetic, is that somewhere you draw Inspiration from?
Toni: Yes it is for sure. I love female punk bands like The Slits, ESG and Crass. It's all about raw energy and fuck you comedy. I've also loved female punk undercurrents like Riot Grrrl. It's our heritage. We have to pick up where these powerful creatures left off. When I moved to London, I fell straight into a group of awe-inspiring magical weirdo witch warriors here in Deptford. When you don't like the way the world is going, the most empowering thing to do is to create your own subculture. That's exactly what the punks did and what we do now.
I know you guys have found Deptford to be a really welcoming home for the salon.
Toni: I met Tuttii in 2014. She lured me down to Deptford and said "come back with us. I live in an old school in a colourful clown cave with my parrot Priscilla Blue. That's a once in a lifetime offer. Ever since I haven't left really. Deptford is my home. I love the people here. There is so much kindness in this strong, mixed community. We are all a part of it and coexist happily, we definitely stick out like sore thumbs but everyone appreciates seeing us clown about on the high street. It's just good vibes.
Tuttii: I've lived in Deptford for 10 years now. Being able to have my caravan in the gated front yard allowed me the time to grow my business cheaply. Without this I don't know how I would have built my work. London needs these types of spaces desperately. We had a massive garden, playground and were living the ultimate dream. The sense of freedom we all felt was really good for the soul. We had to leave our school due to a private development. It's a real tragedy. There are less and less artist run spaces like this, making it harder to live outside the system. But there are always ways!
Can you let me know a bit about the Tuttii Fruittii philosophy and how the salon was founded?
Tuttii: Tuttii Fruittii London is a ladyboi hair sculpting non-binary salon for all genders and hair types. It's a safe space for the LGBTQIAPOC+ communities to feel at ease and free to experiment with their identities. We are a non-elitist, non fashion, non judgment based salon that prides itself on expressiveness and open mindedness. The salon actually started at Secret Garden Party festival, calling ourselves Rhythm Fingers, around 2011. I decorated a chair on wheels with lots of colours and patterned fabrics. It was a mobile hair station.
Toni: Tuttii Fruittii London has always been an art hair salon. It's all about allowing your creativity and inspirations to form your identity, taking risks if you want, and just being proud of who you are. In our shop, there is no rule book, we make sure clients feel free to comment and express their worries and desires. We want good vibes and happy heads.
Why do you think there's been an influx in conversations around gender and identity?
Toni: The LGBTQIAPOC+ communities are exploding at the moment and spreading this universal wave of empowerment thanks to social media. It's such a beautiful tool of self-promotion, it allows us to interconnect and create strong support networks. 2017 needs to be more about expressiveness and unapologetic individuality. Our generation is definitely representing and being bold now. The only problem about cyber subculture is that a lot of the beautiful goddess rawness is happening in the confines of your bedroom and not in the streets. The gender and identity dialogue doesn't just happen verbally. We have to allow our bodies to confront and interrupt the landscape -- reclaim our visibility. This is the only way of changing the world. BE anti-establishment, BE raw and let the world eat it up. Punk would not have had any impact if they hadn't been visible. That's what I feel for our generation, we need less fear and more visible expressiveness. That's what I loved about the punk and queer scene, the bold unapologetic self-belief. If you feel oppression in any shape or form and wanna live your life to the fullest, you have to make your mark and fuck the norms.
Text Alice Lewis
Photography Kurtis Lloyd