Canary Wharf: How Jon Hala London delivers technical cuts for short styles

Senior art director Ellie Reilly talks trends and quality as men opt for longer hair and women experiment with shorter locks for 2024

Jon Hala London’s senior art director Ellie Reilly

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Ellie Reilly knows hair.

Trained at Vidal Sassoon, she comes from a family of hairdressers and has spent more than a decade honing her skills.

When Jon Hala opened his salon in Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Place, she was a natural choice for his team and currently works for the business as a senior art director.   

“Initially I fell into the industry,” she said.

“I originally thought I didn’t want to follow everyone else in my family into it, but as soon as I tried it, that was me done. 

“I’m a hairdresser and I absolutely love it.

“My nan had a salon in east London and I’ve got aunts and uncles who all followed in the family tradition.”

Ellie specialises in cutting hair, which makes her the ideal person to talk about shorter styles, which are becoming increasingly popular among her female clients, just as men experiment with slightly longer locks. 

“To do my job, you need good fundamental training, lots of practice and to have a passion for it,” said Ellie.

“It’s as much about dealing with people as it is their hair, having that confidence to know what will suit the shape of someone’s face.

“Men, especially, look for guidance – they like someone to tell them what complements their face shape, the texture of their hair and their lifestyle.

“At Jon Hala London I cut a lot of men’s hair and I’m happy to be direct if that’s what the client wants – I can tell them what is going to work and why.

“It’s why I’ve built up a lot of loyal clients who come back again and again.

“One thing is you don’t necessarily want to follow the trends – do a short back and sides or get the clippers out and shave everything off.

Jon Hala London is located in Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Place

“Men often want something that’s easy to care for and style, that suits them and doesn’t need a lot doing to it. 

“At the salon, customers will find great people who have been in the industry for a long time, so they know how to cut hair to suit an individual.

“We go deeper than simply looking at clients, we explore their lifestyle, job and how that relates to their hair.

“It’s tailored haircuts for individuals.

“Everyone is different and everyone has different hair. Our training actually starts with bone structure so you can understand why a person’s hair does what it does.”

Ellie said the effect of the various lockdowns had left men open to experimenting with different styles, having (in some cases) seen their hair grow out for the first time in years.

“Some of them discovered they had looks they’d never really seen before, like amazing curls,” she said. 

“Many more of my clients are trying longer hair or mid-length styles rather than opting for that close-clipped look. 

“Lockdown did good things for male hair, it allowed people to see what they had naturally.

“Some might be a bit daunted to walk into somewhere like Jon Hala, but I’d encourage them to just come and have a chat. 

“If you don’t know what you want or you’re looking for a change, book a consultation and we can give you that advice.”

The technical expertise that Ellie has accrued over the years is equally applicable to women’s hair, an area that post-pandemic has seen an almost reciprocal effect.

With many having gone long over the previous couple of years, a fashion for shorter styles is emerging.

“For a while no-one was really cutting their hair,” said Ellie.

“So now people have become bored with that and have decided to try new things. There are lots of bobs and pixie cuts already this year.

“It’s the same with men and women. The important thing about these styles is they have to suit the individual’s face.

Men are currently experimenting with longer styles

“Men tend to have squarer faces so the hair needs to reflect those shapes.

“Women are often more rounded, so you want a style that’s softer or more feminine. 

“The one thing I would say when it comes to short hair is the better the haircut, the longer it will last. 

“At Jon Hala, we cut the hair so that it will keep its shape as it grows out.

“That means it can last three, four or even five months.

“It’s about knowing the tricks and techniques.

“For example, with male clients I might take a little more off the back and sides because I know they will grow out more quickly than the hair on top. 

“That’s the difference when you come to a salon like this – you’re getting a tailored, high quality, technical cut.”

In addition to the cut, appointments at Jon Hala include advice and tips on caring for and styling a client’s hair. 

“We have a wide variety of products and I’ll always go through what I’m using with a client and why,” said Ellie. 

“We can always suggest what will work well for people and offer advice on what they’re already using.

“Everyone at the salon is trained, so when someone comes here they can tap into all of that expertise. 

Women are exploring shorter, more technical styles

“When a client comes to see me, I want them to feel comfortable, special and like they’re the only person in the salon.

“It’s both that experience and the quality of the haircut that we focus on.

“We want people to leave thinking that they will tell their friends and relatives about their visit so they can come and see us too.

“I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by Canary Wharf.

“From an outsider’s point of view, I think people associate it with business and offices.

“While I grew up in east London as a kid and then moved out, I’d had no experience of working here before Jon, who I’ve known forever, asked me to join his team.

“It’s not what I expected at all. I’ve worked all over London including salons in Mayfair, but this really is people-wise the nicest area I’ve ever experienced.

“I have the loveliest clients, really interesting people, and it’s a very mixed area.

“We have clients of all ages coming to the salon and you end up befriending lots of people.”

need to know

Jon Hala London is located in Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Place. Ladies cut and blow-dry starts at £75, while men’s start at £50.

The salon offers a comprehensive range of hair and beauty treatments and is open for appointments from Monday to Saturday.

Find out more about Jon Hala London here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canary Wharf: How Enter Gallery has popped up in Jubilee Place

Brighton brand offers art from £50 to £50k with its walls hung thick with limited edition prints

Enter Gallery has taken over a vacant unit in Jubilee Place

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There’s a blunt clue in the name to the right way of approaching Canary Wharf’s latest pop-up.

Brighton-based art dealer Enter Gallery will be in Jubilee Place until October 8, 2023, having coated the walls of a vacant unit with all manner of original works and prints to buy.

As its branding suggests, it’s a place that’s all about welcoming people in and allowing them to get up close to the pieces.

Works are hung to cover the available space rather than reverentially displayed in acres of white space. 

Nevertheless, the gallery has some big names on its list, dealing in the likes of Peter Blake, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Lucy Sparrow, Patrick Caulfield and Gilbert And George.

“We mainly specialise in signed, limited edition prints from established and emerging artists – although we do have originals too,” said Helen Hiett, buying director at Enter Gallery.

“You can find art that’s anywhere from £50 to £50,000 in our Brighton gallery. Art is for everyone and is meant to be accessible.

“When people come in, one of us will usually come and chat to them and tell them a little bit about what’s on display – we try to demystify art.

Enter Gallery buying director Helen Hiett

“We help to guide them to pieces.

“We have about 400 pieces on the wall there, all mixed together – emerging artists mixed in with more collectable names, so that people are drawn to something they love. 

“We also have a lot of unframed prints in the drawers, so we can get those out and show people.

“The main thing that hits you when you enter is a lot colour – different types of pieces and a whole range of different artists – more than 100 in total.”

Helen’s current role is, in some ways testament to Enter’s ethos.

She was passing by the Brighton gallery and spotted a piece by Dan Hillier, an artist whose work she’d loved while studying illustration at university.

She walked in and handed over a paper CV to a man who turned out to be owner Lawrence Alkin.

An interview followed and, after nine years, she’s never looked back.

“It was fun and it was a very strange way of ending up in a gallery,” she said.

“I’d run pop-up galleries and immersive events in London and Brighton, so I knew I wanted to work in the art world.

“But the places I had lived in before hadn’t had the sort of artists that appealed to me – there were a lot of landscapes and more classical pieces.

Enter Gallery hangs all sorts of pieces right next to each other

“I really liked Enter Gallery because it has art for everyone – street art, fine art, illustration and it had people who used to work in fashion but moved into printmaking, so it’s really varied, and you can see that on the walls – that’s what really appealed.

“The art is quite humorous, with quite a lot of colour, a lot of happiness in many of the pieces, with nods to the history of music and pop culture – there’s a bit of everything.”

The Canary Wharf pop-up, which can be found on the main mall level beside Starbucks, is very much arranged in keeping with the original gallery’s aesthetic.

Brightly-coloured prints line the walls, guarded by Buddha Smalls, a statue of the Notorious BIG masquerading as a curvaceous figure of enlightenment.

Squatting a metre-high, the piece is cast in resin to resemble ivory and carries a price tag of £10,000 – mo money, mo sculpture.

“He’s by a really funny artist we work with called Ryca, aka Ryan Callanan,” said Helen.

“We’ve worked with him for more than 10 years and he makes pop art often to do with music – rap and hip-hop – he’s brilliant.

“We’ve always loved doing pop-ups in London and we thought Canary Wharf would be an exciting place to try.

“We thought it would be a great way to let people see how we can bring a little bit of Brighton to the area, but also all the artists who work for us, so that they can be exposed to a different audience.

“We’ve tried to echo the original Enter Gallery and, while we were setting up, we had someone come in and tell us it really reminded him of somewhere in Brighton – we had to tell him it was us.

Enter Gallery specialises in limited edition prints and originals

“We’ve had a really warm response so far, and we’re really encouraged by that.

“Even when setting up we have lots of people popping their heads in and asking what is happening and whether they can come and see, which of course they can.

“Our dream with this would be to make a lot of new connections, to collaborate on new projects and then introduce the artists and the art to new clients and groups of people.”

As buying director, Helen’s remit is to fill the walls of Enter Gallery with the right kind of stuff – working with artists to source pieces she thinks will do well.

“My role is a bit of a mixture, really,” she said. “We have artists that come in who we meet, or it might be through other people who visit and recommend something they love.

“It can be through Instagram, and we also have a submissions process on the website.

“Then we also go to a lot of art fairs like Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair and we go scavenging in Miami every year, because they have a load of emerging artists, and from all over the world.

“Personally, I’m quite fickle when it comes to art – if it’s just come out, I’ll be really interested.

“I like any art that has a story behind it, something to look at that you can really think about or just if it’s funny.

“One of the pieces I like is a really cool new map by Justine Smith of the Thames.

“Her work is really hard to appreciate online because it’s really detailed.

Buddha Smalls by Ryca at Enter Gallery

“She often uses pieces of different types of banknote and makes a collage of them – there are so many layers of meaning in her work.

“From far away the pieces just look like an image until you get up close and realise there’s a lot going on.”

Crucial to Enter Gallery is the idea that art need not be expensive or financially cumbersome to acquire.

“We participate in a really good scheme called Own Art, which is backed by Arts Council England – people can buy art and then pay for it over 10 or 20 months interest free,” said Helen.

“It was designed to support artists and the people purchasing, so the artists can make money from their work and it doesn’t break the bank for purchasers.”

Failing that, Wharfers can just pop down and drink in the creativity all over the walls.

Find out more about Enter Gallery here

Detail from Inhabitants by Justine Smith at Enter Gallery

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canary Wharf: How Jon Hala unexpectedly became a family business in Jubilee Place

Jada Hala grew up in salons and has now decided to follow her dad into hairdressing as the brand grows

From left, Violeta Hala, Jon Hala and Jada Hala all work at the salon

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Jon Hala has worked hard to establish the salon that bears his name in Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Place.

Opened the October before the first lockdown, the business came into its own as shaggy Wharfers sought solutions to their creative attempts at home haircare.

It’s since gone on to build up a loyal, ever-growing clientele of local residents and workers as well as some more unusual fans such as the Arsenal Women’s Football Team and the female mixed martial artists of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Having built up the salon to a staff of 20 alongside his wife Violeta (who oversees beauty services) Jon said a somewhat unexpected future now beckoned with his daughter’s increasing involvement.

“Jon Hala was never especially meant to be a family business,” he said. “It really happened by accident.

“During the pandemic, we had some members of staff return to their homes overseas.

“At the same time my daughter, Jada, decided to take a gap year after finishing school.

“There was a lot of pressure on my shoulders at that time because, while I had worked in and run successful salons, when it’s your own business it’s different – there were managerial aspects I’d not handled before so getting to grips with that was a big learning curve.

“Jada started working with us as a receptionist but before long, I started to give her more responsibility.

“Now we sit and do all kinds of things together – the VAT and the rotas – she’s involved in every aspect of the business.

“Then, one day, she told me she wanted to be a hairdresser, which was music to my ears.

“My father taught me my craft and now I’m in the process of teaching her.”

Jon Hala is located in Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Place

Jon grew up in his father’s salon in east London’s Leyton, sweeping floors and making teas and coffees for customers from a young age.

“It was a very tight-knit immigrant community of Turkish  people,” he said.

“My dad had always been a hairdresser, learning his skills from his uncle and he had a very good reputation, opening six days a week and sometimes on Sundays too, especially for weddings.

“You have to be a sociable person – it’s long hours, but it’s a people job. I really enjoyed the attention I got from both my dad’s staff and the clients – I was this cute kid, running round making the drinks.

“It also seemed like the ideal job because if I liked a girl at school I could offer to cut their hair.

“There were a few mess ups at the start but that’s how you learn.”

Jon went on to train at Vidal Sassoon then spent around 16 years at Nicky Clarke in Mayfair before launching his eponymous salon in Canary Wharf.

“You have to dream a bit,” said the Isle Of Dogs resident. “You never know what will come of it.

“Opening this business in Canary Wharf was a dream and we’d love to expand, perhaps to another site on the estate.

“Naturally my dream for Jada would be for her to manage part of the business. You can always rely on family members, so that would be a really good position to be in.

“Right now my focus is on passing on my skills. 

“She already has a head start because she’s grown up around the industry.

“With a family business it’s a different atmosphere to a chain – you can offer a more personal service and really look after your clients.

“But we also make sure we look after the people we work with – nobody gets forgotten here.

Jon opened the salon in October 2019

“The team has grown and it would be amazing to expand to take some of that extra volume.

“Ultimately my dream for Jada would be for her to take over – to drive the business forward  even further in the digital era.”

That’s further down the line as Jada is currently focused on her training.

“Growing up, going into the industry was never really on the table,” she said.

“People would ask me if I would follow in dad’s footsteps and become a hairdresser, but I was against the idea – I wanted to break the tradition. 

“But then I finished school just after Covid, which was all a bit of a mess. I was confused about what I wanted to do and what my options were and so I took a gap year.

“But rather than sit at home all day, I wanted to get a job.

“I was looking at vacancies and then my dad mentioned he was down a receptionist and suggested I could come and work for him.

“I don’t know why I hadn’t really considered it, because I had worked on Saturdays in the salon while I was at school.

“But I’d not thought about working there full-time.

 “I was really only meant to do it for a year, but I quickly started taking on more than the reception duties.

“Having been around salons since I was about four, I knew what was entailed in growing and operating the business.

“So I started working as a junior in the salon and developed a real interest in how the various products worked and the science behind them.

“More and more, I wanted to be helping out with the physical work of the salon rather than just running reception.

“I found it came quite naturally, doing more things like blow dries for clients.

“So I’ve since started my training in earnest – I already knew the basics, but my dad is now passing on his skills to me and I’ve just finished my first colour course with Wella.

“As it’s a family business, I’m really here to support my dad. It’s up to me to keep things running smoothly when he’s not there.

“I’m naturally protective of the salon – it’s not just any company but one he’s worked so hard to establish.

“If another site were to open, I’d love to take the reins – it would be my dream.

“For me it’s really the end result for the client that’s important.

“When you make them feel good, you get the satisfaction of doing your job well and that’s amazing.”

You can find out more about the salon here

The business now employs 20 people

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canary Wharf: How Circle Collective helps young people find jobs with experience

CEO and founder of the charity and social enterprise Turly Humphreys talks aspiration

Circle Collective’s Canary Wharf branch is located in Jubilee Place, Level -1

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‘Intensely practical’ is the best way to describe Circle Collective.

Sure, to people strolling through Jubilee Place it’s a striking shop filled with neon, skateboards and the kind of clothing you don’t really see elsewhere in Canary Wharf.

Aside from the inventory, a chic customer picking up a new look will likely not find too much different in the retail experience.

Knowledgeable, youthful staff will be on hand to offer information on the products and then collect payment at the till – pretty much like any other store on the estate.

But Circle Collective isn’t like any other shop on the Wharf.

It’s the public facing tip of a much larger mission that the customer will, wittingly or unwittingly, have played a role in.

Go behind the scenes and you’ll find a vast space dedicated not to stock, but to skills.

That’s because the shop is a social enterprise that exists in symbiosis with a charity of the same name, entirely dedicated to giving young people work experience and finding them employment.

Having recently opened its third dual site at Canary Wharf, founder and CEO Turly Humphreys said it would be impossible to have one without the other.

“It’s two organisations that have to work together,” she said.

“A lot of organisations have asked whether you need both because they are usually only interested in the training. 

Circle Collective founder and CEO Turly Humphreys

“But the magic of what we do is that we do an employability course and it’s wrap-around. Participants get real work experience related to all aspects of the shop alongside mentoring and really practical information about things like how to do an interview and write a CV.

“We work with corporate partners and take them into workplaces so they can see a real working environment. We get them ready for that, building confidence and resilience.

“It’s about constantly pumping them with sensible information and, when necessary, telling them some really strong home truths – that the bus wasn’t late, they were.

“This is not volunteering – their shifts in the shop are treated like a job. If they come in and they’re not on time, for example, then they’re taken to one side and the implications are explained to them.

“That might be an increased risk of shoplifting because we’re short-staffed, which is obviously not acceptable.”

Circle’s focus is on preparing young people for the realities of work and then supporting them into paid, permanent employment with its programmes typically lasting between five and eight weeks.

So far, it’s helped more than 1,000 into jobs in myriad fields.

Turly said: “We believe that any young person who wants to work deserves a job.

“We’re generalists – we’ll take any young person aged 16-25 who wants to work and is eligible to do so – recruiting them through job centres, social media and walk-ins. 

“They can’t be in education or training but we welcome people straight from school alongside graduates from university.

“They might be refugees or neuro-diverse  – we’ll work with anyone.

“Then they become a peer group, work together and support each other.

“My aim for Canary Wharf is to match the people on our programmes to vacancies on the estate.

“That will be a challenge because there are lots of companies here and those jobs are not all gathered at a single point, so we need to collaborate with HR departments and businesses so they can understand the benefit of hiring from a diverse pool of people who want to work.

“It’s about companies realising that there’s a real benefit to diversity and that you can hire people for many jobs such as front-of-house in hospitality without them needing three years of experience.”

Turly started the charity and social enterprise after being inspired by her son’s sporting activities – initially looking at that as a way to help young people.

“He was 16 and a sports scholar at the time – playing cricket, rugby and football all around the country,” she said.

“Once young people were on the pitch, it didn’t matter what anybody’s background was.

“So I started by trying to get more people into sport, but then I went to a job centre and saw how disillusioned the young people were – the lack of ambition they had.

“It was so sad because they never expected to do better than their parents – to own a house, for example.

“I come from a commercial background and I’ve always run my own business. I had a flagship store for corporate printing in the Strand, then I had a studio in Tottenham Court Road.

“I looked at those young people in the job centre and thought: ‘This isn’t rocket science’.

“I got some of them into the shop, some of them into the office and, out of those first nine recruits, I got seven of them into work.

“I’m still in touch with them today.

“One lad’s father was a farmer and there wasn’t enough for another income on the farm, so I got him a job as a welder, which was perfect.

Circle Collective stocks a range of clothing and skateboards

“Then there was a lovely girl who had hearing problems. 

“I managed to send her on an away week and she came back much more confident. She’s been running a big bingo hall now for years.

“None of it was especially complicated – it was all about being practical. That’s the ethos we still run Circle Collective with. 

“I work on partnering with the corporates and run the shop and we have Matthew Lewendon who has a charity background and is our director of operations who handles the charity – it just works.”

Circle’s Back Your Future programme is very much tailored to individuals and features one-to-one mentoring sessions, work experience in the shop, motivational workshops, a chance to meet employers and access to job vacancies.

“But it’s more than that – once brought into the fold, the charity offers ongoing support to those it finds jobs for as long as they need it to ensure everything is going to plan.

“The aim is that participants feel they belong to a community they can rely on.

“First we sit down with them and find out if they have any barriers to work and to identify any transferable skills they have – which many do,” said Turly.

“So they start off with the charity and then they have an induction on the shop floor, where health and safety and safeguarding is explained to them.

“They get a sheet with a list of things we teach them and on the first day they’re taught cash handling and taking credit cards, at the till.

“Then they’re taught how to approach customers and learn product knowledge – they may have to go and research that.

“When they first come to us and say that they want to work in a shop or in an office – it’s our job to teach them about all the different sectors and how they might find roles within them.

“We use the shop to give them experience in relevant areas.

“If somebody’s creative, for example, we often get them involved in merchandising – we aim to use the skills the young people have got, whether it’s handling websites or using their creativity.

“One girl we had came from prison and she’s now doing merchandising in Primark, which is exactly what she wanted to do.

“Then I’ve got a lad who was a refugee, hardly spoke English and was homeless – he’s now a chartered accountant.

“We have a graduation every year and you can’t bottle the atmosphere.

“The young people come back, get a certificate and they all do a fashion show.

“The corporate supporters come and everybody’s in tears.

“At first nobody wants to talk, but then someone grabs a microphone and they all thank everybody.

“It’s wonderful. It’s about getting people into work, but it’s so much more than that.”

Circle needs both funding to continue its work and a larger pipeline of corporate partners to help it find roles for the young people it supports.

“The people who come to us often have a lack of career advice, work experience or role models and may also be suffering from anxiety and mental health issues,” said Turly.

“There’s also a lack of awareness of the realities of work, which is why it’s so important to take them into workplaces where they can hear from people doing the jobs.”

Turly said Circle would love to hear from businesses locally who can help with similar visits or provide entry level jobs in and around Canary Wharf.

The organisation is also looking for sponsors to help it continue its work.

The other aspect to Circle that is of benefit to Wharfers is the shop itself, with all profits fed back into the charity.

“It’s thanks to Emma Warden and Jane Hollinshead at Canary Wharf Group that we’ve been able to open here.” said Turly.

“The shop is like bringing Shoreditch to Jubilee Place – we stock a mixture of retro brands and vintage clothing including some high-end pieces from labels like Burberry.

“One of our trainees asked if we could do skateboards so we wrote a business plan and I gave him £200, which he turned into £400. 

“Now everyone who comes on our programme is taught how to build a skateboard. We’re not a specialist skate shop but we do sell boards and if people need their bearings fixed then they can come in.

“We also have a lot of skate clothes that people can buy and four of our staff are skaters.

“We also stock products that are locally made and would like to find more makers who want to sell through us.

“What we say to buyers is that when they shop with us in store or online, they are really supporting the community.

Circle Collective’s Alex Emerson-Arfstrom

CASE STUDYAlex Emerson-Arfstrom

There’s a real sense when you visit Circle Collective that people who wind up in its orbit keep coming back for more.

Alex Emerson-Arfstrom is a good example – finding his way onto one of its programmes and then returning to work part-time at the organisation while studying.

He said: “When I left college I was looking for work.

I took  a gap year, but the catch was I didn’t have much experience on my CV outside of projects – I didn’t have any work experience.

“My friends referred me to a place called Circle Collective and I started off as a trainee on its Back Your Future programme.

I was there for about two months, getting some basic retail experience in the Dalston store.

“I was born in Haringey – I’ve lived there my whole life.

Then I received a job offer, but this was the place I wanted to be, so I’ve been here for six months on a kickstart scheme, training people like myself and using the skills I had learned. 

“I was inspired by the training and became a supervisor myself, to train young people.

“I was working part-time and then I got into university to study cyber security. It’s way more than just working in a shop.

There are so many opportunities we can give young people.

“They can shadow the staff here and build their skills – there are so many areas to get involved with – administration, IT and customer service.

“I’ve been here for about two years now, and it’s very rewarding when people get jobs – they’ve done their training, get employment and come back and talk to me about how they feel.

I do keep in contact with a lot of them and seeing their confidence grow over time is amazing.

“I wasn’t the most confident person at the beginning.

My preconception was that it was going to be very structured, but it was a much wider spectrum of things I was taught.

“On my second day I was helping to create a social media project, and then I was going out to stores, talking to people.

There’s such a wide range of things to get involved with.

“I’ve gained more skills than I can count from Circle.

It gave me the opportunity to do some really great IT work – hands-on experience. It’s been great that they have shown that trust in me.

“I’d always been a creative person and the programme allowed me to spend time working with social media and that turned into managing websites, setting up deals with brands and designing things on the IT side.

“While I’d always had an interest in cyber security before I came to Circle Collective, what the organisation has done is allowed me to develop those skills such as managing its website.

“I’m not sure what I will do in the future but it will be within the cyber security sector – it’s such a broad area.”

Circle Collective’s Angela Brown

STAFF SPOTAngela Brown

I’m the partnership manager at Circle Collective,” said Angela Brown.

“As an organisation we can educate, encourage, support and create some fantastic fresh talent for an organisation.

“At present we have a particular focus on equality, diversity and disability and how corporates can embed that within their operations.

“At present, we feel businesses are doing it but maybe not as authentically as they could be.

“For example, we’re currently working with Landsec who will be taking on young people as kickstarters.

“I’m working with them to ensure that those young people are understood and supported by their managers as businesses are often used to graduates or people who come from a certain background.

“It’s really important that everyone is talking the same language so the young people have a chance to shine. 

“I’ve been with Circle Collective for five years and am currently training as a therapist which I feel plays into my current role.

“There’s a therapeutic element to what we do and I think young people need that kind of support to take the pressure off their coaches.”

Read More: Why there’s only weeks left to see Punchdrunk’s The Burnt city

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canary Wharf: How Ian Berry is set to create a new artwork from donated denim

The Poplar-based artist’s piece will be unveiled on the estate for World Environment Day on June 5

Artist Ian Berry, pictured surrounded by jeans in Cabot Square
Artist Ian Berry, pictured surrounded by jeans in Cabot Square

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Artist Ian Berry wants his work to be seen in real life – so apologies to anyone reading the this.

These reproductions might give you an idea of the kind of pieces he creates, but 2D reproductions on paper or digital screens just don’t cut it.

Based in Poplar, but hailing from Huddersfield via High Wycombe, Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands, the constant in Ian’s life is also his medium – denim.

Cutting, layering and gluing, he creates images and installations using a palette of jeans, constantly pushing to make the material accurately depict all manner of scenes, lighting effects, substances and surfaces.

The reason you’re looking at one of the pieces from Ian’s Behind Closed Doors series is that he’s just embarked on a project in partnership with Canary Wharf Group.

With used clothes donated at Jubilee Place last week, he’ll be stripping out the denim and using it to create an artwork, which will be unveiled on World Environment Day – June 5.

Detail for one of Ian's pieces for his Behind Closed Doors series
Detail for one of Ian’s pieces for his Behind Closed Doors series

“My work needs to be seen in real life to be understood,” said Ian, who works from a studio overlooking the Limehouse Cut canal.

“I don’t really feel like a real artist to those who haven’t seen my work in that way.

“I’d spent the pandemic having seven different shows in other countries – most of them solo and that was tough with all the quarantines and shipping issues.

“I’d just got back from Chile when I got an email from Canary Wharf asking about this project.

“At first I thought it would be great just because I could walk there rather than having to take pieces on aeroplanes.

“I walk through the estate when I catch the Jubilee line, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get my work seen by more people in real life.

“But it also sounded interesting because of the estate’s sustainability credentials – it’s something that’s taken very seriously whereas some other places just use it for marketing. I’ve not spoken much about sustainability in the context of my work.

“Others have – as recycling or upcycling – but when I started 16 years ago it wasn’t the buzzword it is now.

“The project I’m doing with Canary Wharf Group reflects sustainability and the environment – denim’s terrible in its impact at the end of the day – but there are also good things happening in the industry.

“I don’t believe there’s a material that better reflects contemporary times, good or bad.”

Detail from Ian's Secret Garden
Detail from Ian’s Secret Garden

That really is the crux of things for Ian. While we talk it becomes clear there are all sorts of tensions at work between the artist, his medium and the subjects he chooses.

He tells me denim stands for freedom, democracy and the West to the point where it was banned in Russia and Belarus, where it’s still worn symbolically by dissenters.

Then again, it’s also the clothing of capitalism, excess and greed, with designer jeans selling for astronomical sums.

“I’m interested in people and in the denim industry, in workers’ rights,” said Ian. “I know everyone in the sector and there’s a lot of greenwashing going on – a lot of lying and they even tell me what their lies and exaggerations are. It’s frustrating.”

While Ian’s pieces are necessarily shot through with such issues – how noble attempts to pass on clothing to do good can come unstuck as second-hand garments wind up flooding foreign markets or simply get dumped overseas, for example – the denim he uses is also, importantly, just the stuff he uses to capture the world.

“I use it literally as my paint to represent contemporary life and issues you see every day,” he said.

“I have struggled for 16 years to know what to call them –  they’re not paintings, they’re collages, but using just one medium.

“In some there are 16 layers of denim, so they are very sculptural, 3D pieces, and they can be very effective, with the texture of the denim as well. All that gets lost if people look on their phones or laptops.

“The magic in my work is finding the gradients in the denim, the fades, the cat’s whiskers – where it goes from indigo to lighter shades. You can connect them together and get quite a photo-realistic piece.

“Sometimes I achieve that too well and people don’t realise it’s jeans, but you need that ‘aha’ factor for people to connect.

“It happens in America especially, where people look for a while and then get closer and closer and, at about 50cm away, they say: ‘Oh, my God, it’s blue jeans’. I don’t want it to be seen as a gimmick, though.

“I hope people appreciate the craft, the love and attention to detail and they are amazed that the piece is made out of denim.

“I do set myself technical challenges – how to depict shiny, metallic objects or water using this matt material. But the main thing is the subject.

“With the Behind Closed Doors series I wanted to depict this busy city we’re living in, which can be lonely. 

“That really connected with people – two out of three were saying: ‘Wow, that’s me’ – and it was kind of special.”

Detail from The Game by Ian Berry
Detail from The Game by Ian Berry

Ian, whose granddad was from east London, said he wasn’t sure what kind of piece he would create from the jeans donated in Canary Wharf.

He said: “Hopefully the piece I create will cause discussion and make people think. 

“I can’t give too much away at this stage in case the idea changes but I think it’s going to have an element of my hanging Secret Garden, which turns plants into cotton, into jeans and then back into plants again. 

“There’s a nod to sustainability in that – it’s nice because we can make something permanent out of the jeans. 

“If you wear a pair for 10 years and then throw them away, it might be just about OK, but now we have a world where people buy them, wear them two or three times and throw them out.”

Ian’s piece will be added to the Wharf’s permanent art collection.

Detail from The Roosevelt, LA, by Ian Berry
Detail from The Roosevelt, LA, by Ian Berry

Read more: Find out where to make your own cloth with Freeweaver Saori Studio

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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Canary Wharf: How Jon Hala’s salon is all set to get you looking your best for Christmas

Hair and makeup package offered for those special events alongside range of aesthetic treatments

Jon Hala opened his salon in Jubilee Place in 2019
Jon Hala opened his salon in Jubilee Place in 2019 – image Matt Grayson

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You can feel it, can’t you? With the decorations up throughout Canary Wharf’s malls, the festive season is upon us and, with last year’s celebrations curtailed by the pandemic, the estate is almost vibrating with anticipation for the parties and events to come. 

Anyone who had previously taken winter festivities for granted has had a long 18 months of restrictions and lockdowns to provide a bit of perspective for 2021.

Little wonder then that venues are already reporting a surge of bookings with home and office workers alike apparently desperate for a bit of real-life face time.

The gyms’ treadmills and weights machines are working overtime as bodies softened by Zoom calls in bed and too many takeaways are honed back towards something approaching shredded perfection.

With serious pent up demand, everybody wants to look and feel their best – after all, Christmas comes but once a year and this one has even more traction that usual.

“People in Canary Wharf want glamour,” said Jon Hala. “And that’s what we’re all about.

“That means bouncy, beach wave and editorial-style blow-dries – the kind of thing you’d see in Vogue. 

“Our aim is to make everyone feel amazing – totally comfortable in their own skin.”

The salon specialises in colour treatments
The salon specialises in colour treatments – image Matt Grayson

Jon opened his eponymous salon at Jubilee Place in October 2019 as the culmination of decades working at the very top of the industry.

Training with Vidal Sassoon was followed by about 16 years at Nicky Clarke’s Mayfair salon, before going on to style A-list clients from the worlds of film and fashion. 

As workers return to the estate’s offices and an increasing number of residents move to homes both on and close to the estate, Jon remains as determined as ever to deliver cutting edge services while remaining agile and adaptive to his client’s needs.

“We want to serve the people of Canary Wharf, to give them what they want as well as a great experience along the way,” he said. “We never turn clients away – we are very accommodating.

“If someone wants to come at 7am, they can – we call it the early bird appointment. It’s the same if it’s after hours and we never rush anybody.

“We’re independent and completely focused on customer service – we’re certainly not an average salon. We give clients little gifts, something they can take away as a thank you for coming here.

“It’s about bringing Knightsbridge to Canary Wharf – we have an amazing team who are all highly skilled and have worked in films, advertising and editorial.”

Those considering having their locks tamed by the salon can also be confident as staff regularly take time to consider trends, styles and fashions clients might want.

“Part of our training here is to hold monthly soirees, looking at magazines and working out what the next trends will be,” said Jon.

“The evenings are fun but educational – we put bullet points on a mirror and discuss what’s coming through.

“As a result of lockdown, for example, men have become used to having longer hair and many found they liked it.

“For women, it’s been a case of short bobs in case another lockdown happened. As a business we work with a lot of high end brands including haute couture house Balmain, which we’re ambassadors for, so we’re very up on the latest trends – we have to be.”

The salon specialises in colour services and offers products from brands such as Shu Uemura, Oribe, Sknhead, Kerastase and American Crew as well as making its own Miracle Masque.

Jon has also tailored his business to meet the very specific demands Canary Wharf generates and, having spotted a niche, the salon has launched a hair and beauty package designed to get clients ready for events, whether that’s for Christmas or at any other time over the course of a year.

“We’ve come up with an affordable combination of hair and makeup – inspired by salons in west London that offer everything under one roof,” he said.

“It costs £100 and that’s split equally between a blow-dry and make-up. It’s a good deal because just having the latter done professionally can be more than £70 alone.”

Violeta Hala oversees the aesthetic treatments
Violeta Hala oversees the aesthetic treatments – image Matt Grayson

The salon also now offers a range of aesthetic treatments overseen and delivered by Jon’s wife, Violeta. 

Chief among the services it offers are a wide range of treatments using a NeoGen Plasma machine, which uses pulses of nitrogen plasma aimed at stimulating collagen production.

“When people are over 30 or 35, they start to realise that they have to take care of their skin, so we are providing a range of needle-free treatments using this machine,” said Violeta, right.

“It can be used to improve darker patches of skin, to lessen the appearance of rosacea and even to lift the eyebrows.

“There is literally no pain and, after a few treatments, people will start to see the results.

“It’s ideal for anyone who is scared of needles and doesn’t want to risk bruising on their face.

“There’s no downtime, so people can even pop in and have a treatment during their lunchbreak. It depends what we’re treating, but the process takes no longer than 40 minutes. 

“The results are quite quick too – I would say three or four treatments to see improvements, so there’s still time to get it in time for Christmas.”

A client having a NeoGen Plasma treatment
A client having a NeoGen Plasma treatment – image Matt Grayson

The salon also offers Mesotherapy for both beauty applications and to fight hair loss.

Violeta said: “We use nano-needles that are so small – so soft and tiny – that they don’t leave any bruising.

“We’re injecting 55 different vitamins, which includes four different amino acids into areas that require it. After three treatments you see amazing results and I would advise that it is repeated every four to six weeks.

“At the salon we also offer fat dissolving injections, which is a revolutionary new treatment that can be especially helpful after people have been sitting at home for long periods during the pandemic.

“It can be used to target anywhere on the body where fat has been stored – the legs, hips, chests, lower back, the arms, the knees and the chin – to break down the fat cells.

“Clients should see results after the second or third session but it has to be done gradually so your skin has time to adjust.”

Staff at the salon are happy to talk potential clients through the various aesthetic treatments offered and to explain in greater detail the sorts of results that can be expected.

Back on the hair side of the business, that’s also true as Jon always aims to give his customers what they want.

He said: “You can only ever suggest things to people – it’s about meeting halfway. I don’t ask a client: ‘What are we doing today?’.

“But I will recommend styles that will suit them. Then we do a two-step haircut where we take some off, then decide whether to go further. It always works out.”

Follow this link to make a booking at Jon Hala online

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