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Wolf Alice x Bleach London
Courtesy of Bleach London

Nostalgia, heartbreak, and WKD: Wolf Alice’s new hair dye is a true blue

Lead singer Ellie Rowsell and Bleach London founder Alex Brownsell discuss their collaboration in celebration of the band’s new album Blue Weekend

“I like it when you can have something to wear or do that makes you feel part of a gang so we wanted something our fans could do to show that,” says Ellie Rowsell, lead singer of Wolf Alice, on the impetus behind the band’s new collaboration with Bleach London. To celebrate the release of the long-awaited third album Blue Weekend, they teamed up with Bleach head honcho Alex Brownsell on a sapphire true blue semi-permanent hair dye of the same name

When Wolf Alice’s debut album My Love is Cool came out, fans adopted the glitter from the cover as their trademark, a sparkling rallying cry that united both supporters and the band alike, and would turn up to shows covered in gold glitter. “With the title of this album and our love for the Bleach team and products, we thought the dye was a perfect idea,” explains Rowsell who describes Blue Weekend as the colour of the feathers of a blue guacamaya.

And it’s not that far-fetched to imagine a whole crowd of slush-puppy-headed indie fans showing up at gigs, particularly with everyone’s lockdown-induced propensity towards brightly-hued DIY hair. “It was a moment where you could try something experimental without worrying what other people would think or say,” says Brownsell of the trend. “It brought a bit of colour into a dreary situation,” adds Rowsell. With a post-vaccine summer on the cards this year and lockdown restrictions easing, what better way to celebrate than with a blue head to match the (fingers crossed) blue skies. 

Here Rowsell and Brownsell discuss their adventures with hair dye, the collaboration, and what makes a weekend blue.

Do you remember the first time you dyed your hair? 

Ellie Rowsell: I always wanted to dye my hair but was always scared I would look worse. It wasn’t until I was about 18 I dyed my hair black and I guess my fears came true... cause I looked like shit. Alex actually sorted me out a couple of years later when I went blonde for the first time. I think I looked quite good then but that scared me so it made me feel insecure! 

What have some of your favourite hair looks been over the years? 

Ellie Rowsell: When I went bleached blonde for the first time a few years ago I felt good, I was growing out a mullet, which looked horrendous, but the blonde made me feel fab again. And as a low maintenance person having bleached hair is great, it makes you feel made-up without needing to do much. 

When did you two first meet? 

Alex Brownsell: I’m not sure of the exact place or day but think I met Ellie through her friends in the band Swim Deep. They were all regulars at the impromptu after-hours parties we used to have at Bleach Dalston. I think I also bleached Ellie’s hair blonde for the first time? 

Ellie Rowsell: Yeah! We had some fun nights out and when I decided I wanted to go blonde, Alex kindly offered to do it for me, many years ago now. I remember sitting next to Princess Julia, actually, which is funny because she’s in our new video!

How did the collaboration come about? 

Alex Brownsell: When the band asked us if we would be up for it, we loved the idea. We don’t have many blues in our range so it was perfect. If it was Pink Weekend it might’ve been a little harder to find a new shade... 

We love everyone in Wolf Alice. They’re so fun, I knew it would be an enjoyable experience. Plus I was already super excited about the album coming out, so getting help developing some merch was a bonus. We tried loads of different product ideas when developing the dye. We looked at hair mascara, eyeshadow, lip stick, nail polish. We could have done a full beauty range for the Blue Man Group by the end of it! 

Ellie Rowsell: (Laughs) The Blue Man Group goes out on the weekend. 

What makes a weekend blue? 

Ellie Rowsell: It came from me literally talking about the weather. Those days where the sky is blue and completely clear but I think it can mean something more sombre too. We chose it as the name of the album because it was ambiguous so it could encompass the various moods of the album. I also liked how you could imagine the journey of the album to span a lifetime or simply one weekend. 

What does the colour blue evoke for you? 

Ellie Rowsell: Where green reminds me of nature in an organic way, blue reminds me of nature in a totally magical way. The expanse of the sea and the sky reminds me that nothing is larger than life itself and that calms me. It also reminds me of the sugary twang of a WKD.

Why do you think people have such an emotional relationship with our hair? 

Ellie Rowsell: I guess our haircut serves as a kind of mask. We hide behind it or we shape it to reflect what we want others to think of us, or how we feel on the inside... When we want change, a haircut is an easy first step! Of course that’s ridiculous and doesn’t work but it can make us feel fresh, to be fair, and feeling fresh is a good way to start the new you!