Welcome back to dapperQ’s ongoing queer barber and hair stylist interview series: Queer Cuts. This week we’re celebrating Madin Ray Lopez, a Los Angeles-based hairstylist.
dapperQ: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your shop/salon.
Madin: I am a local Los Angeles based hairstylist. I have been in my craft for 11 years, and I’ve spent about half of that narrowing down my niche clientele. Most stylists in Los Angeles go into the film industry. I have chosen to spend my energy on a demographic of people looking for an identity and confidence instead. Many of our “baby gays” have a problem with understanding their own androgyny. I pride myself on coddling the distinctive qualities that will communicate their identities to the world. Previously, I worked with the Gay and Lesbian Center, QPOCC, GLAAD, and Outfest’s Outset. Realizing that this sect of our community needed specific services, I decided to create a non-profit to help young QPOC people with figuring out where they fall on the gender identity spectrum through hair styling. Finally, I was able to join forces with Pony Lee at Folklore salon in 2013. Being in such an openly queer, inclusive space has opened my own ideas of what a community can be. I am so thankful to be apart of this family and movement to make things easier for the next wave of newly un-closeted chosen family members.
dapperQ: Queer fashion sites like dapperQ and Qwear are often asked, “What is queer style?” Does it exist? And, if so, what sets queer style apart from other aesthetics? Along the same lines, many of our readers ask us about queer hair styles (e.g. is there such a thing and where are the best places to get one). Do you believe that “queer hair styles” are a discernible aesthetic? If so, what makes them unique?
Madin: When the question of “queer style” comes up, my first thought is visibility. This is a very important aspect for the queer community mating call. When I happen to see a person in public that is sending off those queer signifiers, my metaphoric tail starts to wag. It tells me that I am in a safe place, with people like me. Over the years, so many queer styles started with our community. But the hipster, spinster, punk or Coachella scenes will usually take it on as their own. So, yes, there is such thing as a “queer hairstyle.”
dapperQ: What are some trends you are seeing in queer and/or masculine cuts?
Madin: At the moment the queerest style that I have had the pleasure of crafting on many heads is the shaved in part, a haircut I have seen on Ruby Rose in the Trailers to the new 3rd season of OITNB. It is a throwback to the Kid and Play style of the late 80’s early 90’s, minus the flat top. No style is new, and reincarnation of design is the highest respect that we can pay to the style gods.
dapperQ: How do you understand and approach your clientele different from the ways a classic Barbershop/salon does?
Madin: I make it a point to always ask the person in my chair of their PGP (preferred gender pronoun). This where coming to a queer and inclusive space such as Folklore comes in handy. There will never be any confusion, from the front desk to the check out, it is our honor to be a safe space.
dapperQ: What can we expect next from you?
Madin: I am currently in the process of building out my vintage Airstream trailer to create a mobile self esteem building salon for the queer youth that I have worked with. All of their haircuts are free. If you would like to help, the best way is to come into the Salon In Echo Park on the appropriately named Mohawk Street.
dapperQ: What are your rates?
Madin: Our prices range from $25-$70. Call us for an appointment (213)236-8836.