The Alternative Hair Charitable Foundation ‘Fighting Leukaemia’ (Registered Charity 1147189)

In 1983 hairdresser, Tony Rizzo, and his wife, Maggie, lost their first-born child, Valentino, to leukaemia at the tender age of 2 years and 7 month old. They decided to hit back at this vicious disease in the best way they knew: by engaging their many friends in hairdressing worldwide in an entirely new and audacious charity fund raising event. The Alternative Hair Show was first staged at London’s Camden Theatre in October 1983, the Show was a huge success, raising an enormous £7,500, which was immediately donated to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, the UK’s leading blood cancer research charity.The Alternative Hair Show was born!



The Shows have grown into one of the most exciting and sought after events in the international hairdressing calendar. The flagship London Show is now in its 37th year, and has taken place in prestigious London venues including The Royal Albert Hall, The Hippodrome, The freemasons Hall, Excel & more. There have been Shows in Chicago, Bologna, Vienna, Moscow, Seoul, Italy and Tokyo. Proceeds of the Shows, now in excess of £12.5 million, have been donated to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in the UK and to leukaemia charities in the host country.

In January 2012, to mark the 30th Anniversary of this unique fund raising initiative, it was decided to set up The Alternative Hair Charitable Foundation (Registered Charity 1147189). The Foundation is a grant making trust committed to funding charities with established experience and expertise in the advancement of research into and the treatment and welfare of people suffering leukaemia and related cancers of the blood.

The Foundation wants to build upon the success the Alternative Hair Shows have achieved over the last 37 years by establishing a focal point for hairdressing, a profession renowned for its qualities of caring and generosity, to achieve yet more in fighting leukaemia.

So far, its declared aims are to support the outstanding work of Blood Cancer UK, which truly is making a real difference to the outlook for children with leukaemia. The Foundation is also working with world-renowned Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital & World Child Cancer which strives to bring the successes in treating childhood leukaemia to less fortunate parts of the world.

Now in my 15th year as President of Alternative Hair I am pleased to welcome you to this year’s Alternative Hair Show: Parody. With a new venue at Excel we are pleased to be able to offer our audience the opportunity to visit Salon International and attend our show, without the problems of crossing London in traffic on a Sunday evening.

It has been a busy year for Alternative Hair and I am thrilled that my initiative, the Alternative Hair Visionary Award, sponsored by TIGI, is going from strength to strength, with increased global interest. This year we have already held the Visionary Award in Ireland and Taiwan and the winners of these competitions will be in London for the finals. In fact, with 36 finalists, the Visionary Award has become a major part of the evening. I believe in giving opportunity to hairdressers, to show their talent and creativity and expose the future stars of hairdressing to a wide audience.

Alternative Hair is an incredible event for an amazing purpose, run by a very small team with 100% dedication. At the heart of Alternative Hair is charity fund-raising, but we can’t forget that this enduring show is also about featuring talented hairdressing teams from across the globe that create an unforgettable creative experience for everyone in the audience.

I cannot end my message without applauding Tony Rizzo. His never-ending dedication is fantastic and his long-held vision to continue fund-raising to support families with desperately sick children, as well as on-going medical research is awe-inspiring. Thankfully the outlook for children with Leukaemia continues to improve, but until there is an absolute cure, I know Tony’s work and commitment won’t end. But Thank you! Alternative Hair can only continue because of the support it receives from its fantastic artistic teams, the sponsors, the interna- tional trade media and you. Let’s fight Leukaemia together. Thank you for supporting Alternative Hair. Have a great evening.