About

Established in 2014, DKUK is the original hair salon that got rid of mirrors, offering haircuts and colour in front of art. This unique environment creates an experience like no other.

DKUK is for everyone; you can come in for a haircut, or just to see the exhibition. Open to all hair types and lengths, we charge gender neutral pricing based on time and stylists’ experience. We proudly stock vegan hair care range Pureology, Davines’ sustainable styling products, Philip Kingsley’s award-winning scalp treatments and are the only Peckham stockist of leading afro hair brand Design Essentials. 

Realised by artist/hairdresser Daniel Kelly, DKUK is a platform for making contemporary art and the discussion around it more commonplace and accessible. Staging six exhibitions and various events a year in the welcoming setting of a bustling hair salon, DKUK presents itself as a new model for creative practices and artistic economies to support each other. This includes commissioning new art works and providing full training for artists to become hairdressers. The co-existence of hairdressing and art means at DKUK we look after peoples’ heads – inside and out. 

We are grateful to Arts Council England for their continued support, which enables us to realise the exhibition and events programme. 

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F.A.Q.

How did the idea for DKUK come about?

DKUK originally started as a pop-up hair salon in a gallery, as a part of Art Licks Weekend 2014. The DK in DKUK, Daniel Kelly first trained as a hairdresser with Toni&Guy before deciding to go to Camberwell College of Arts and pursue a viual arts career instead. When Daniel combined these originally separate areas of his life, he stumbled on a new way to work with and look at art, away from the pressure of the commercial art world and growing complexity of ‘publicly’ funded spaces.

How do you find the artists you exhibit?

Everyone that works at DKUK can contribute ideas to the art programme. The programme is planned so that we show a diverse range of practices over the year, both in terms of artistic medium, but also age, gender, location, ethnicity and experience of the artists we work with. It is important that their work ‘fits’ within the unique concept of DKUK, as a result, many of our previous exhibitions were commissioned especially.  

Are all the artists local?

Whilst DKUK is committed to supporting the artistic economy and community in our area, we do not exclusively show artists that are based locally. In fact, we believe working together with artists from outside of London is one way to help develop our local art world too. 

Is the art for sale?

Almost always yes. It is part of DKUK’s core aims to support sustainable artistic economies. As such, as long as the artist want the work to be for sale it is. That being said, we are not a commercial gallery and therefore don’t invest time and energy in marketing the work. If you are interested in any of the work on show or that has been on show, feel free to get in touch. 

Is DKUK a complete mirror-free zone?

During the cut and colour you are sat in front of art. However, a centre piece in the salon is the magic mirror, which doubles as a display cabinet when not in use. This is where clients and the stylist or technician have in-depth consultations at the beginning and the big reveal at the end of all appointments. We also work with smaller hand mirrors for quick checks throughout appointments to check-in with things like fringe length.

Is it harder to cut hair without a mirror?

There are a few stages of the cutting process where a mirror can be beneficial, such as checking balance and face shape suitability. However, this can all be achieved by simply turning the hairdressing chair around looking from the front. There are many instances when haircuts take place without mirrors, such as demonstrations on stage, haircuts on location for photo shoots and haircuts done at home by mobile hairdressers. These examples indicate that the mirror is there more for the client than the hairdresser.

How much should I pay for the pay what you can?

This is a genuine offer as we want everyone to have the chance to experience DKUK. We are however a business not a charity, and pay our staff a good wage as well as all overheads and taxes associated with being a business. The least we have received is £6; occasionally people choose to pay more than the appointment price; the average price paid is £36.

Do you cut kids hair?

Yes – for everyone 14 and under we charge £20 for a haircut, you can book this service via our website or over the phone as normal. 

Why do I need to come in for a patch test?

We strongly recommend that everyone who wants to have their hair coloured with us for the first time comes in for a patch test. This needs to happen at least 48 hours before your appointment and involves a tiny drop of dye being applied to the skin behind your ear, to check that no allergic reaction develops. If the skin does react in any way, we will need to discuss what the best next steps are.

If you are unable or unwilling to come in for a patch test you will need to sign a disclaimer form accepting all liability for proceeding without. 

Why do you charge a deposit?

We ask for a 25% deposit on all technical/colour services. The reason is that these appointments take a lot of time, making late cancellations are extra hard hitting, especially if we have had to turn other clients away. Don’t worry though, as long as you give us more than 48 hours notice on cancelling or changing your appointment, we will refund the deposit. However, late cancellations or no-shows will lose their deposit.

Are all you products vegan?

Most of them are, but not everything; 

Pureology is a vegan hair care range. Whilst Davines’ sustainable products are not certified vegetarian or vegan, none of the products we stock and use at DKUK contain any animal-derived products, so these are fully vegan friendly too. 

The Philip Kingsley treatments on offer are not certified vegan. Design Essentials is a cruelty-free brand, meaning they do not test on animals but do have products that use animal-derived ingredients.

Can we bring our own containers to refill for the refill shampoo service?

We strongly recommend only refilling with the containers that the product originally came in. Some types of plastic used for bottles and containers can react, meaning they could seep into the product and then the water supply. The bottles and containers used by Davines are made of reusable plastic and are therefore completely safe to reuse. Generally food safe containers meet these criteria too. 

What time should I book for my haircut?

If it is your first visit we recommend booking a one hour slot, this will give us time to thoroughly discuss your needs. Your following appointments will then be charged according to the time required to do your hair and nothing else. We will advise you on the amount of time we recommend for your hair type and length.