Plucked as if from the pages of a Free People catalog, Artel is a hair salon with a boho chic vibe where you go in for an of-the-moment cut and colour, and leave with new friends — and maybe a few decor ideas for your home.
Getting your hair done at Artel on Fraser Avenue is less like sitting in a salon and more like hanging at your BFF’s cozy studio apartment, one furnished with a comfy sofa, a coffee table stacked with the latest issues of Elle, Vogue, Marie Claire, and Chatelaine magazines, and the water boiling somewhere in the back for the perfect cup of tea. Even on Vancouver’s greyest of days, lots of light pours in through the large floor-to-ceiling windows, and homey touches like pretty little succulents sit perfectly placed between bottles of shampoo and conditioner. On the walls, round mirrors hang from leather straps while funky metal wire sconces dangle from the tall ceiling.
Artel was born from a passion and vision Eliza Trendiak had since she was a teenager, experimenting with cuts and styles on her brave friends and family members, eventually graduating from hair school and years spent honing her skills at various Vancouver studios. But why Fraserhood? “We’ve lived on Main Street for six years and love it so we knew we wanted to open a salon close by,” says Eliza. “At the time, Main Street prices were starting to skyrocket, not to mention there’s a salon on almost every block. So once I saw the lineup for Earnest Ice Cream on Fraser, I knew this was the street for us. If people would drive to Fraser for ice cream, they would drive to Fraser to get their hair done.”
Indeed they do. There are the loyal clients who have followed her as she moved from salons in Yaletown and elsewhere across the city, the ones who heard about Artel through word of mouth, and the lucky ones who stumbled upon Artel in a neighbourhood that is quickly becoming known for its creative flair, its superb eating and drinking options, and its quirky businesses.
At Artel, Eliza specializes in balayage, a term that’s become as popular as ombre but one that not everyone knows exactly what it means. “Balayage is simply the technique of free hand painting,” says Eliza. “You can use this technique on its own or combine it with traditional foils depending on your desired results. It’s an amazing way to get a seamless blend from one colour to the next. It is my favourite technique to use because you can completely customize the colour to each client’s cut. It’s an art form where hair is the canvas and lightener is the paint.” Ombre, she continues, is a term to describe a fade from dark to light. “So you can actually have Ombre nails, or an Ombre dress, so Ombre is a look where balayage is a technique.”
Stylists at Artel use Kevin Murphy products, a sulfate-free, paraben-free, and PETA-approved line from Australia that uses plant extracts and essential oils to produce unique shampoos, conditioners and styling products. “They have a product for every hair type, hair problem, and hair wish and they smell like a dream,” says Eliza. The salon also uses Nula and Naive, two locally made skin and hair products that are ethically sourced, small batch, and handmade.
Eliza Trendiak’s Fraserhood
BRUNCH SPOT: Prado is great for brunch. They have lots of fresh options and the interior is so pretty.
DRINK: I don’t drink so I’m the wrong person to ask. But my husband loves the Rum Horchata at Sal y Limon.
CAFE: Matchstick Cafe. They were one of the pioneers of the coffee scene on Fraser Street. You will find all walks of life (and every breed of dog waiting outside) and it’s a popular summertime hangout for the locals.
DATE NIGHT RESTAURANT: Pizza Carano. These guys are the best at what they do. We go there so often they don’t even have to ask our order anymore. It’s so cozy and quaint in there and the food is second to none. We rented out the whole place for our last Artel staff Christmas party last year.
FRASERHOOD GEM: I would say Discover Dogs if you have a pet. They care so much about animals, are so knowledgeable, and have an amazing variety of food and toys. As well as Clayzone Ceramics Gallery. My sister and I have been taking pottery classes there and I have been blown away by what we’ve been able to create in a few short weeks.
Photos: Rob Trendiak