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Article: The History and Origins of Salonwear

The History and Origins of Salonwear
The Company

The History and Origins of Salonwear

Salonwear: A Brand from Dencowear

Dencowear and its two brands, Salonwear and Uniforms4Helathcare are proud of their Yorkshire clothing manufacturing business from its humble beginnings in Leeds to its current day standing as one of the UK's leading supplier of health and beauty uniforms.
We recently found out that not a lot of our customers know that Salonwear is a brand from our company Dencowear. So we thought we’d give you a little background about who your uniforms come from.

The Origins of Dencowear and Salonwear

Den-Co-Wear originated from the garment ‘Dental Coat’. It was a Cossack-style dental jacket that Louis Shinwell (the Grandfather of our current owners) brought back from America in 1966 after noticing a demand in the UK for this style.
This led to the founding of Dencowear, a place to buy Cossack-style dental coats and a handful of different clinical-styled uniform to dentists listed in the Dental Registry Book. Dencowear quickly became very well-known.
Den-co-wear Brochure 1966
Our first brochure from 1966

Although Dencowear started in 1966, the Salonwear brand wasn't launched until 34 years later in 2000, meaning 2020 will see Salonwear reach 20 years!

The Salonwear brand was created due to the increasing demand for Salon uniforms and as they continued to grow in popularity, the brand became a huge hit for the Dencowear company. Since then, the company and the Salonwear brand have grown to now supply you with a great choice of high quality garments, in many styles and colours suited to a variety of professions in the healthcare and beauty industry. 

Salonwear Brochure from 2000 - The First Salon Wear Brochure

The first ever Salonwear Brochure


Three Generations of Experience

Dencowear and its two biggest brands, Salonwear and Uniforms4Healthcare, are now being overseen by the grandson of the original founder, Louis Shinwell. The company has passed from grandfather to mother to son, maintaining the excellent knowledge, product and service the company is known for throughout.


Managing Directors of Dencowear, a Family Business

From left to right; Molly and Louis Shinwell, Sue Sherman and Ilan Sherman (far right)


Salonwear: A Proud History

Founder, Louis Shinwell, handed the family business to daughter, Sue Sherman, who developed the company and launched the Salonwear in her time as CEO. Her son, Ilan Sherman, is now in charge and has seen numerous product and service awards during his time at the company.



•       Louis Shinwell (Ilan’s Grandfather) realises his dream of owning his own business.

•       He had a little bit of experience of making ties, so he and Molly set up a tiny factory in the front room of their house.



•       They moved the operation to a large back-to-back house in Camp Road, Leeds and joined forces with a new business partner. Peters & Shinwell was born.



•       A relative of Louis Shinwell brought a Cossack-style dental jacket from America as he thought there would be a demand in the UK for this style.

•       Molly Shinwell then formed a separate private company, Den-co-wear, to start selling this garment with a handful of different clinical styles. The company name comes from the original garment ‘Dental Coat’.



•       Envelopes were addressed by hand to dentists listed in the Dental Registry and the mail order company Den-Co-Wear was launched to the market.

•       When the orders came in they were collated and manufactured by Peters & Shinwell for Dencowear.



•       When Louis Shinwell retired and sold Peters & Shinwell there was a need for Dencowear to control its own manufacturing so second generation, Sue Sherman, opened a small unit in Armley, keeping the staff who had worked over many years for Peters & Shinwell.

•       One lady, Agnes, who started with Louis Shinwell at 15 years old, would go on to work for Dencowear until she retired at 65, a symbol of the family atmosphere that was embedded in the culture from an early age.



•       Dencowear soon outgrew the unit in Armley, as it became difficult to ‘climb’ into the office where we also stored the numerous rolls of cloth and boxes with part orders which were waiting to be delivered.

•       So, Dencowear moved to a unit of 1,200sq ft on Domestic Street, Leeds. Sue Sherman was the only person in the office and all paperwork was done manually such as delivery notes, invoices, accounting etc.

•       The business grew and Dencowear took on more machinists. Unusual in the turbulent times of UK clothing manufacturing at the time, Dencowear never had to lay staff off for lack of work. Most of the business gained was from Yellow Pages and recommendations.

Salonwear UK Factory in 1994

UK Factory Machinists for Dencowear in 1994 



•       Dencowear had been manufacturing uniforms for the beauty industry (known as Salonwear) for wholesale clients for a number of years.

•       After five years one of Dencowear's wholesale clients approached us with a suggestion. She was looking to continue to get the orders in to sell her salon equipment but wanted Dencowear to supply the uniform orders she received direct to students and colleges. Dencowear agreed to do this opportunity and a new brand ‘Salonwear Direct’ was born. It was the start of Dencowear selling salon uniform to retail customers rather than just suppliers.

•       New people were employed to process the numerous individual orders and to manage the stock, which we now had to hold in the Leeds office in order to service the needs of the college market.



•       It was around this time that Sue’s son, Ilan, joined the business and began to modernise the company by launching a website and setting up the manufacture of some of our garments in overseas factories.



•       We now had to stock larger amounts of workwear so we decided to look for premises that would accommodate the expanding business and in 2008 moved to Meanwood Close.

•       The company was fortunate to land a contract with Npower plc which doubled our turnover to £1m



•       It quickly became apparent that we were fast outgrowing the space at Meanwood Close as we had to store a lot of stock off the premises. After 12 months of searching across Leeds, we found our present building, the newly named ‘Denco House’ in Buslingthorpe Green, which at 10,000 square feet not only served the needs of the business, but allowed for luxuries like meeting rooms and a fun staff room.



•       We currently supply clothing to a range of sectors including health and beauty colleges, salons, spas, care homes, pharmacies, clinics and power stations.

•       We have two active e-commerce websites; and

•       We have clients including Sheffield Hallam University, Npower, Haribo, NHS, Leeds City College and Ideal Care Homes

•       We've won several Best Uniform Supplier Awards and are a well-recognised company and brand within the health and beauty uniform sector.


By Managing Director, Ilan Sherman

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