Together with Pride: Kristin Rankin shares how the Dresscode Project is working to provide a safe spaces for the 2SLGBTQ+ community
As we continue to celebrate Pride Month, we look to amplify the stories of inspiring 2SLGBTQ+ individuals who continuously work to uplift members of their community and inspire change in our society.
Kristin Rankin (they/them), a long-time Rogers customer and the owner of Fox and Jane salon in Leslieville, has worked in the hairstyling industry for more than 15 years. Kristin identifies as queer and in 2017 founded a nonprofit organization called the Dresscode Project, which seeks to create gender affirming, safer-spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ clients in Canada and around the world through educating and empower hair stylists and barbers to support people in transition.
Today, Kristin shares what impact the Dresscode Project has had for them and their community.
Dresscode Project’s goal is to educate and empower hair stylists and barbers to give people haircuts that help them look the way they feel. Tell us about the inspiration for this project and how it came to life!
I have always had a very inclusive space; I’ve always had a pride flag on the window of my business. One day a transgender woman came in to get a haircut from me and the next day after the haircut she tweeted my salon that it was the first time she had a haircut that made her feel like a woman. Although that made me feel good, I was upset that my industry was not servicing my community properly, and I realized that something needed to be done about how we represented haircuts within the pro beauty industry. It needed to start by changing our service menus from men’s and women’s haircuts to pricing by either length or timing. But not priced by gender.
The Dress Code Project has had a tremendous impact on your community and already has received global attention– have there been any memorable moments for you along this journey that solidified your purpose for this project?
I think every time I have a human in my chair who identifies outside of the gender binary it is an impactful moment for me. Just knowing that so many humans across the world are benefitting from the services that we provide through education and training for salon owners means everything to me. It shows that our work is important, and it is incredibly necessary so that these folks can receive haircuts that make them feel like themselves. It helps them with dysphoria and mental wellness. I never get tired of hearing of these stories, and they always make me feel like we are doing amazing activist work in our industry.
Along with our sponsorship partners, a big moment for us was when we created the first ever commercial featuring transgender women talking about their hair and celebrating their hair on a global brand platform. It was absolutely huge and historical. No other commercial has ever been made like that before – nor since!
Also, this past Sunday, June 12, we just hit another milestone. For the first time ever, we created an event called the Gender Free Haircut Club Day, with 50 salons participated in offering free haircuts to folks that are marginalized and identify within the queer community. We all did it on the same day and it was the most extraordinary event that we have put together so far.
As a long-time Rogers customer, how important is connectivity to the work that you do with the Dress Code Project and to know that Rogers is such a strong supporter of Pride and your work.
As an owner of two small businesses, I rely on having my phone in my hands to do work 24/7. Poor connectivity is not an option, I must have good reception, good cell service and an amazing data plan. I can travel anywhere in North America, and I can rely on the service that Rogers provides for me. Having a company that supports my community and my efforts within the queer communities, such as Rogers, makes all the difference to me. The reason I continue to choose Rogers is because they are so loud and proud and a great active ally for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
What’s next for you and the Dress Code Project?
I love being a hairstylist! My mother was a hairstylist and it feels like it’s in my blood. I love making people feel amazing through a haircut. I love making clients look the way they feel. A big part of this career for me has been creating Gender Affirming hair spaces, in my own salon, and across North America in this time with Dresscode Project. I’m super excited for the future and to continue to build this amazing project all over the world. We have been taking our cause and movement Global, and I am so excited for what we have planned.
Visit here to learn more, donate or find our how you can get involved in the Dress Code project!