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Hairdressers face the chop as Berlin becomes messy hair capital

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Hairdressers face the chop as Berlin becomes messy hair capital
Photo: DPA
10:18 CET+01:00
Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit has labelled his town “poor, but sexy” – a testament perhaps to the city's hipsters having mastered the art of studied shabby chic. But now hairdressers in the German capital are suffering as people save money on haircuts.

“We are in the metropolis with the most dishevelled hair,” Jan Kopatz, head of the Berlin barber's guild said. “That really hurts your feelings as a hairdresser.”

Equally painful is the declining market for barber shops, he said. “It's odd. We have fewer costumers but more shops,” he said. Discount hairdressers, who often offer dry cuts for as little as €5.95, are suffering the most from the thrifty Berlin style.

“Many hairdressers had to close over the course of last year,” Kopatz said, adding that the sales figures still are declining because Berliners are short of cash due to the recession. “People who used to visit the hairdresser for a colour, cut and blow-dry eight times a year now only come five to six times,” he said. Young people are especially likely to switch to more affordable hair habits.

Popular fashions are also putting pressure on Berlin's some 10,000 hairdressers. “Everyone can find his own style these days, you experience that on the street,” Kopatz said. “A recommendation from the hairdresser doesn't really exist anymore.”

But the hair guru says there is still hope for hairdressers as the holidays draw near. December is the industry's biggest month, and perhaps more people will be keen to try out the new, higher-volume 80's throwback styles, he predicted.

“The sentence, ‘Like always,' will not be allowed in 2009,” he said.

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