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Tags:   Hair,   Dreadlocks,   Piercings

By Mila Camilleri   -  August 19, 2015

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SWAG caught up with Nakul Gautam of Bohemia, a quirky shop offering dreadlocking, body piercing and even clothing and accessories made from alternative materials for men and women. We asked Nakul about the ins and outs of dreadlocks, from getting them done to maintenance. 


Nakul is originally from Nepal and has been living in Malta since 2013. Back in Nepal, he met and married his Maltese wife. A couple of years ago they decided to move to Malta, and have recently opened Bohemia.



Can you tell us a little bit about your history and where you learned about dreadlocks?


When I was 18, I started working as an apprentice at my cousin’s tattoo studio, and it is there that I learnt how to do dreadlocks, body piercing and also how to run a business. At that time there were a lot of foreign people coming to Nepal purposely to have their hair dreadlocked. My cousin Bikas was the very first person who started doing them in Kathmandu. Eventually in 2006 I opened my own studio doing dreadlocks and body piercing.



Have you ever had dreads?


I’ve never had dreads. I love making them, I love fixing them, I love seeing them on people, but I never felt the need to have them myself. Some people have dreadlocks because they believe in Rastafarianism, others because they like the look, and others because it’s comfortable to wake up and start the day without having to brush your hair. For me, there is no particular reason ... I guess I just love my hair the way it is.



What services does Bohemia offer?


Bohemia is a 3-in-1 concept: Boutique, Dreadlocks & Piercing.


The first part of the outlet is the boutique, featuring clothes, jewellery, bags, hats and home decor. Almost all the items are from Nepal. We’re introducing to Malta alternative materials, such as organic cotton, hemp and jute. We strive to offer a fashion that is not easily accessible locally, a style that is reminiscent of Asia, while remaining contemporary and fashionable in the Western world. There is also a corner dedicated to men’s wear and several accessories.


The second part is the dreadlock salon, where you can find a small lounge area where your friends wait and relax with a cup of tea and a magazine.


The third part is a closed partition that serves both as a changing room and a body piercing studio, licensed and in full compliance with the standards of the local Ministry of Health.



Can anyone get dreads?


Yes, pretty much anyone can get dreads, given that they have hair! It doesn’t matter if you have straight, wavy or curly hair. It even doesn’t matter if you have long or short hair. For even if you have short hair you can always attach some extensions.



What does creating dreadlocks entail?


It's a process that requires a lot of patience! The technique we use, which is the crochet technique, is a slow but effective method to do dreadlocks. You can say it’s the only professional way to do dreadlocks for Caucasian hair. There are other methods to do dreadlocks, like for example the ‘back-combing’ or the ‘twist & rip’ or with ‘wax’, but these are methods that only amateurs use, to save time. In reality they don’t have any long-term positive effects and can drastically damage the hair.



Do you have any maintenance tips for dreadlocked hair?


Having dreadlocks is a commitment and only those who are ready to take good care of their hair daily should go for it. The hair needs time to ‘get used’ to the new style, therefore requires some patience and much love. Maintenance will be required regularly; until the hair finally reaches a stage that we call ‘maturity’. The time required varies from person to person but it is generally that of a year, and eventually when the dreads have ‘matured’ they will no longer need constant attention like before.



Are there any products that are particularly good to use for dreads?


The natural method is always the best, even with dreads. Wax and other products can do incredible harm, as the chemicals stick to the scalp like a glue, attracting dirt and moisture and soon starts emanating a bad smell. And the only way to get rid of it is to shave the hair. Therefore, we suggest the use a PH Neutral shampoo, that has no chemicals.



Many people believe that dreadlocks are unhygienic. What are your thoughts about this?


Unfortunately this is a misconception and is not true at all, but it is rather an issue of personal hygiene. A person may be unhygienic, and then so are his dreads, but then a person can be clean and tidy, and so will his dreads be as well!



Can you describe your average client? Are you aware of any discrimination in the workplace?


Most of my loyal local clients have steady, reputable jobs; such as marketing managers, chefs, gym instructors, journalists, customer care personnel, receptionists... I think it depends on the company that employs you, as some companies have very strict rules about personal appearance, while others are very open minded. I am very happy to say that all my clients wear their dreads with pride and know how to style it neatly for when they go to work and need to look elegant and smart.



What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to their dreads?


The biggest mistake people make is not choosing a professional loctician to do their dreads. We get many clients who come to us for urgent help after someone tried to do them dreadlocks for a cheap price, and their hair becomes a mess just after a couple of weeks. Now to fix bad dreadlocks takes more time and patience than to make them from scratch. So at the end it all becomes even more costly. So when choosing a loctician, make sure you ask what method is used, pictures of previous work, speak to previous clients and eventually decide on your priorities.



Bohemia is located at 58B, Birkirkara Road, St Julians (near the petrol station under Manoel Dimech bridge, border with San Gwann).












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