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Barbie® x BLEACH

We chat to the salon's co-founder, Alex Brownsell, about working with the iconic doll

Dalston salon BLEACH has collaborated with the iconic Barbie® doll brand, drawing inspiration from the latest release by the doll manufacturer, Barbie® Design Printables, in which a range of patterns and colours can be printed onto Barbie®’s hair. Hair stylist Alex Brownsell, co-founder of BLEACH, has created eight Barbie® looks using different styles and colours each with coordinating outfits, that us life-sized people can try ourselves.

Using an online program and an inkjet printer, Barbie® Design Printables will be able to print directly onto clip-in hair extensions provided in a kit by BLEACH, in any colours or designs desired resulting in personalised extensions. What more could you want! We caught up with Alex to talk about how the collaboration came about with the most disproportionate girl in the world and whether she ever gave her Barbie’s makeovers when she was younger.

Dazed Digital: How did the collaboration with Barbie® come about? Why do you feel she was the perfect 'client'?
Alex Brownsell: We were asked by Mandi Lennard to create some looks for a new Designable Hair Extensions Barbie. You can print patterns onto her hair, quite a few designs which you can choose from are hair colours which we already do at Bleach so it seemed like a fun idea for us to have Barbie in the salon as a client for a few weeks to see what we could do. So far she has been perfect, there are no tantrums, no questions, she never wants a cup of tea, and never seems to need to go to the loo.

How did you go about creating the 8 different looks, what was your process? What did you use as inspiration?

Alex Brownsell: To create the looks for Barbie we basically just used everything we could - dye, marker pens, glitter, nail polish, bits of fabric, stickers, even crisp packets. We have had a few disasters whilst trying things out on Barbie's hair - someone melted her hair off in the crimper forgetting it was synthetic, and we have also ended up with one having bright blue skin. All the Barbies have taken inspiration from real clients and people that we know (not telling any names). I created five of the Barbie looks and everyone from the Bleach team has also created their own Barbie; it's become very competitive in the salon. A normal person's hair dye takes a few hours, but we've all managed to spends weeks on Barbie's.

DD: What's your favourite look out of the ones you've created?
Alex Brownsell:
I love them all...

DD: Did you used to re-do your own Barbie's hair?
Alex Brownsell:
Yes, Barbie was my first experimentation with hair styling. I remember they all ended up with a crop because I'd cut their hair and dye it with felt tips, and then cut bits out until there were no styles left apart from very short.

DD: The Barbie Designable Hair Extensions kit provided allows people to try their own designs at home, is D.I.Y hair something you enjoy/encourage? Do you think it's it important to experiment?
Alex Brownsell:
Your hair is one of the few things that you can change about yourself to make you look completely different, quickly and temporarily, and I think it's important to experiment with DIY styles at least a few times in your life (or every few months like most people i know) to find out how each combination makes you feel. 

The Designable Hair Extensions kit, which comes with the Barbie, has hair inside which you can print onto from your printer, having designed what you want online, then you clip it in to Barbie's hair or your hair, which is a good way to try something out to see how it looks first on Barbie, then you can come to Bleach and have it done for real.

Bleach, 420 Kingsland Road, Book appointments HERE or on 020 7927 7844