Tributes paid to ‘pioneering’ hairdresser Rita Rusk

Hairdressers in Glasgow have paid tribute to Rita Rusk after her death aged 75.

Hailing from Castlemilk in the city, Ms Rusk was seen as a pioneer in hairdressing throughout her career, which spanned five decades.

From a humble beginning in Hamilton, Ms Rusk was the first female and only Scot to be crowned British hairdresser of the year, alongside her then husband Irvine, according to Alan Edwards, who runs a busy salon of the same name in Glasgow’s Merchant City.

Writing on Facebook on Thursday, Mr Edwards called Ms Rusk one of the “greatest female hairdressers” in the industry, adding: “Rita Rusk was a hairdressing pioneer in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s.

“Rita was the first female, and the only Scot, to be crowned British hairdresser of the year alongside Irvine Rusk.

“Together they challenged the status quo in hair. Innovating, designing, creating and inventing were only a few of the gifts Rita gave to our industry.”

Mr Edwards said he was “forever grateful” for the skills he learned from Ms Rusk after working with her for 10 years.

He said: “I had the great pleasure of working with the Rusks for 10 years and will be forever grateful for the opportunity and skills I learnt from them.

“So many great hairdressers have come out of the fantastic Rusk stable and have passed on so much creativity and knowledge to many other hairdressers.

“Our industry was very blessed to have had such an incredible hairdresser leave her mark.

“Rita lived a life and left a legacy. RIP Rita Rusk.”

Taylor Ferguson, who owns the eponymous salon in Bath Street, Glasgow, said Ms Rusk headed to Glasgow to launch salons and develop careers from Lanarkshire. Mr Ferguson said they were “friendly and respectful” rivals.

He said: “We’re sad to hear of the news of hairdresser Rita Rusk’s death. Anne and I were like Rita and her ex-husband Irvine as we all hailed from Lanarkshire, headed to Glasgow to launch salons and then develop our careers.

“Our paths crossed many, many times over the decades – at exhibitions, hair displays and competitions.

“We were friendly and respectful rivals in a tough market.”

Linda Stewart, director of Rainbow Room International in Glasgow, started her career with Ms Rusk.

She said: “I started my career as a Saturday girl with the Rusks and worked for them for eight years.

“Rita was a true inspiration for her style, flair and creativity, a true role model for young hairdressers.

“We continued to have a great relationship throughout the years and I was always one of her girls.

“She brought so much innovation to our industry and was a true legend.”

She operated two salons in Hamilton and Glasgow and is survived by her son James.