mood: Ann-Marie Hoang of Mstr of Disguise, this 19th century tattooed babe, Beyoncé à la Formation, Vivienne Westwood in 1979.
Serafina Woodward is a formidable hairdresser and the first I found in London that I completely and fully trust with my hair. Don’t let the all black garms fool you — she has a keen eye for colour. What’s more, she’s got a creative sense of style and is always up-to-date on the latest industry trends. Serafina works as a senior stylist at the oh so lovely ethical salon Stunt Dolly on Kingsland Road in Dalston, which was first recommended to me by my friend Kat. If you’ve been looking for a cool yet unpretentious salon with an environmentally friendly ethos, definitely pay them a visit.
Serafina and I met at the Hackney Downs Studios on Earth Day, each with a bicycle in tow, and spoke about her rock ‘n’ roll sense of style, tattoos and how you can live locally and find a community—even in London.
Melo: Tell me about what you’re wearing today.
Serafina: [I’m actually wearing] very old clothes. The top is ASOS — I found it in the sale and I think it’s meant to be a dress but I wear it as a top — the trousers are Urban Outfitters, the shoes are Nike and they were bought in the sale as well. I love a sale! Jewellery wise I’ve got a handmade crystal necklace by Amy Rose Crystal Jewellery, a lovely little buddha necklace from Muse Studio Jewellery, and then I added a crystal that I found in Brighton when I went on a weekend away there. And a lot of the rings and the bracelet are from Great Frog and Muse Studio, these little ones are from Regal Rose too. Oh, and the glasses are Stella McCartney and it says on the side that they’re made out of renewal biomaterial. She’s also vegan, so she’s well about all that [environmental] stuff.
Melo: How would you describe your style?
Serafina: I wear a lot of black. Sometimes I do colour, but it’s almost like rock ‘n’ roll with a little bit of slouch to it. I quite like baggy, oversized stuff and I like to jazz it up with jewellery and things like that.
Melo: You’re definitely rock ‘n’ roll I think, and I love that all black is your thing. Tell me about the tattoos!
Serafina: So my tattoos—and I’ve got a lot now—I got this big tattoo here on my inner arm that says “our rose will never wilt” because my middle name is Rose and my nan’s name is Rose. [Before] I got it done and it took me about three years to really decide that I wanted a big tattoo. Then after that, I didn’t get tattooed for another five years. Then, when I split up with my ex-boyfriend, all of a sudden I was getting tattooed left right and centre! A friend of mine, Antoine who works at the Sang Bleu, we were talking one evening and he said to me “why did you get tattooed so much?” When I said “I don’t really know,” we wanted to find out why ancient tribes and people [today] get heavily tattooed. I think it’s a real identity thing. I’m actually getting tattooed tomorrow! I’ve been seeing this Indian-inspired tattoo artist and I quite like his vibe. I just like to collect little bits, and I think that’s why I never went for full sleeve.
Melo: They all work together really well though.
Serafina: Yeah, they do don’t they. Sometimes I leave it up to the artist, and sometimes I’ll go in with an idea—like this little pineapple I knew I wanted because it’s a running joke with my friends. I normally go to the person because of their art, 100%. Very addictive!
Melo: Do you have any style icons?
Serafina: I do actually. One of my favourites is a girl that I follow on Instagram called Mstr of Disguise. Her style is super cool. Sometimes I’ve been asked if I’m her before, and I say “No—I wish!” So she’s a big style icon for me, but as I’m a hairdresser I’m always looking to the fashion world [for inspiration]. Stella McCartney is one of my favourites as she’s very [much in line with] what I believe in as a person. Vivienne Westwood obviously, she’s really badass. Even icons like Iris van Herpen, I like really geometrical stuff. McQueen as well obviously. But as someone that’s coming up and really killing it on Instagram, Mster of Disguise is my favourite.
Melo: Lastly, and I know this is something you’re quite passionate about, tell me a bit about your practices and beliefs in terms of sustainability.
Serafina: As you know, as a you’re a client to the salon, I was actually going to leave London a couple of years ago, as I was fed up with being a hairdresser and fed up with commuting, but I had a think about how can I make this a little bit more for me. I’m a person who uses a lot of organic [beauty] products, not tested on animals, and thought that I just needed to find a salon that uses those types of products. I’ve used Kevin Murphy products in the past, and was specifically looking for a Kevin Murphy salon in East London, which was really hard!
I went past Stunt Dolly once on a bus and thought it was a night club! I thought “oh my god, I haven’t been to that club before. I should check it out!” I looked it up and it turned out that it wasn’t a night club, but an ethical salon. [Exactly what I was looking for!] So that’s how I came about to work there. We believe that recycling’s important, that we minimise waste, that we use products that do not harm the planet or animals. We are an LGBTQ+ friendly salon with gender-neutral pricing, so everyone’s welcome in the salon.
So that’s what I quite like about working at Stunt Dolly, and that carries through to my everyday life. I’m very conscious about plastic at the moment. It really does my head in! I shop a lot on Love Lula and Naturismo, which deal in cruelty free and organic beauty products. I’m trying to avoid stuff like buying on ASOS every week like I used to. I don’t shop at Topshop really anymore. At the moment I’m massively into Depop and I’ll buy a lot of second hand. A lot of my clothes are really old, and as I wear a lot of black, I just put ’em in the black wash. So I rarely buy anything ]new] anymore, apart from when I want to treat myself to bags and stuff, like this one from Matt & Nat—vegan leather in black. Or the Stella glasses—in the sale though still!
Melo: They’re so good, Depop. Haven’t you been selling on Depop as well?
Serafina: Yeah I have! They’re great. I”m just trying to bring things back around I suppose, instead of having to buy something new. If I do buy something new, I try to be resourceful [and make sure I think it’s ethical], like the Matt & Nat bag or Stella glasses. I mostly eat organically as well. I get my little local organic food boxes delivered right over there. It’s called Growing Communities and it’s all grown locally and fair trade source. I’m actually a locker monitor, so I look after the locker which gets me a discount as well. Which is amazing! Also, now I’m a vegan (in the way I eat as well). I became a vegan because of the plastic in the ocean. Today is actually Earth Day, and the thing that they’re concentrating on this year is the whole plastic pollution issue.