As I sit in the passenger’s seat of my editor’s car, we chat about my forthcoming work. “So, I’m doing a few album reviews, covering Rodrigo and Gabriela, we’ve got Mark Guiliana from Blackstar being interviewed for the radio show... and.. I’m going visiting a hair salon in Stockport.”
“You fucking what?”
But wait, hold your threepenny bits – this isn’t your typical hairdressers. Already galvanising support from press and media, owner couple Kristian Evans and Naomi Graham have huge plans to create Stockport’s very own Soho amidst the quirky cobbled streets of Lower Hillgate.
This funky little boutique is packed with cool memorabilia – a huge Aladdin Sane lightning bolt hangs on the wall next to pictures of rock royalty, the Virgin Mary and an original poster for a Rolling Stones gig. The place is an Instagrammer’s dream but it isn’t fake or gimmicky – Naomi explains that half the furniture has been pilfered from their own front room.
I hate going to the hairdressers, all that bloody small talk about holidays and plans for the weekend. It’s all so awkward. But immediately upon arrival Kris cracks open the vin de plonk and a few drinks later Naomi gets me a strong cocktail served in a crystal skull. Good start. Thumbs up. I’m keen to know how this rock n roll couple met.
“Me and Naomi met on a hot spring weekend, she interviewed me for a hairdressing job (which I got obviously) and that evening I took her to the sleaziest bar in North London called Slim Jims where bras hang down from the ceiling and they serve whiskey on tap. We spent the evening guzzling Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon, playing the Rolling Stones pinball machine (where we smashed the top Score) and proceeded to fly around North London on Boris Bikes with Naomi crashing head first into a garage”. She was due to leave London to return home shortly after their meeting, but clearly smitten Kris followed her up north and the rest is history.
These guys are both award-winning and respected players in the fashion and music industry. Kris worked for (and partied hard) with Amy Winehouse, styled barnets for Noel Fielding, Agnes Dean, and various New York fashion shows, celebrities and bands. On top of that he is still good friends with Carl from the Libertines, Sadie Frost and Jude Law. Naomi, who fell into hairdressing by accident (Kris did it to pull the women) worked hard and secured positions in some of the biggest British establishments alongside highly acclaimed stylists including Urban Retreat (Harvey Nics) and Harrods, Knightsbridge.
As Kris snips away, I realise quickly that this is not your usual small talk. We chat about (mainly) unprintable stories involving models, rock stars and piles of coke, and the chaotic naughtiness that ensues behind closed doors. Go on tell us something tramp hair boutique
Ok then tramp hair boutique well, one funny story that springs to mind is being at a Halloween party with Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and enjoying a spot of pissed up trick or treating. But probably the most memorable is partying with a well-known super model and radio DJ (names removed for legal reasons) and my quiff caching fire on a candle while I was taking part in tramp hair boutique ‘recreational activities’. But this isn’t name dropping on their part, it’s just their reality: “they’re all just normal people after all,” he adds nonchalantly.
But their move away from the glistening lights of catwalk runways and the private lives of Primrose Hill are all worth it. They’re setting up home together. And the dreams don’t stop there either. Already with plans to expand the Tramp brand to Liverpool and London, this ambitious duo are also working on a cruelty-free product range as well as organising secret music gigs at the salon. Their launch party was a glamorous and boozy affair with music from Stephen Chadwick (Chaddy) and Leo Smith ‘Zak the Ripper’ playing a storming set of blues and singalong Mancunian anthems – guests spilling out onto the streets before all heading off to the heavily censored after party.
This is a bold, passionate and daring venture and a far cry from the play-it-safe highlights you get on the high street. Fuck the Northern Quarter, it’s been taken over by bearded hipsters on skateboards. If you want an authentic rockstar experience, I highly recommend this little back street gem.