What is Alchemy? Well, if you look it up in the dictionary, the meaning is, “the seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.” And, if you’re on the up and up in Orlando, you know that it is not only one of the best salons in town with the most appropriate name, but also a creative hub for clients and stylists alike. Two decades ago before the internet was what it is today, Corinne Gammichia, Alchemy’s owner, would travel to London and Paris to participate in workshops, and become inspired by the local scenes and the fashion industry. As she sat and watched the instructors of the workshops execute the newest trends that were about to hit the scene, she became equally mesmerized with their collaborations artistically, personally, and professionally, and decided This is how I want to work. Never wanting to be a business owner, Corinne had a vision of the type of environment she wanted to create and the type of artists who would help her create it. “So, I rented the space and thought if I build it they will come. And one by one, they did.”
Today, the salon operates 7 days a week, 13 hours a day, with an eclectic array of clients. On the day I visited, there was a doctor with scrubs getting a haircut, an older woman getting a blowout and curl set, and an edgy young punk rock chick coming in for her weekly shave on half of her head. For the stylists at Alchemy, it is more than hair for them, it’s about consistent evolution.
On Mondays, they collectively have staff classes where they create with each other—sometimes sharing technique—and share inspiration as they come together with magazine tear-outs, inspiration boards, and instagram feeds they have pulled from. The space itself if less salon and more art studio.
The style of the environment at Alchemy is dictated by the stylists and changes, from day-to-day, sometimes hour-by-hour, but mostly minute-by-minute. There is no dress code (with the exception of no daisy dukes or flip flops, which, honestly, could just be a life lesson for all), the Spotify changes from 90s R&B to indie rock at the drop of a hat, and with each shift change and new outfit that walks in, a new life is breathed in, hence the hashtag #whatalchemywore.
Before I, myself, became a client, I was intimidated by whether or not I would be “cool enough” to go there. Truth be told, before my first visit, I spent hours picking out what I was going to wear. Alchemy prides itself on being synonymous with change. “We’re making people change all the time; it would be weird if we didn’t,” says stylist Michael. The main purpose at Alchemy is to make people feel good by making them look good, and the only way that that can be done is with complete passion and obsession for the craft and a focus on attention to detail. That is what keeps Alchemy so sacred.
Alchemy is located in College Park