What would you think if you saw a man walking around town in a pink wig, neon orange trousers and a bright blue scarf? Meet Neon Leon, the man from Downton, Salisbury, starting conversations and spreading joy through colourful costumes.
Leon started dressing more colourfully in the summer of 2016 when people started to comment on his choice of odd socks.
“I started wearing odd socks with sandals in the summer. People told me I couldn’t wear odd socks with sandals, but I thought ‘how are you meant to see them otherwise?’
“It started from there really, and I decided to start wearing a bit of colour. In the winter I didn’t want to hide behind a jacket, so I started buying suits and padding them out underneath with warm clothes. The wigs came later on when I decided to colour my hair, my nails and everything!”
Leon tells us that wearing colourful wigs and clothes can lead to people questioning his intentions.
“People see the wig and they think ‘what is this guy up to?’, but I am just like them – I am going shopping or going to the pub. Once people get to know who you are, like lots of things, they relax. They don’t keep asking what are you up to because they know what you are up to, and that’s just bringing a bit of colour.”
When Leon began wearing more colour his job was to deliver parcels in Bournemouth.
“That’s how lots of people got to know me from what I was wearing. It’s nice to have feedback from people and see people’s reactions. A lot of people haven’t got that time to talk to people, but I like to have a chat because it makes me feel better than just going home and feeling like I haven’t seen anyone today.”
Now, with a following of over 400 people on his Facebook group, Leon shares pictures of his colourful outfits with followers who have seen him in Salisbury, Downton, Bournemouth, and Poole.
“It doesn’t matter where I am, even if I am just in the garden people enjoy seeing what I am wearing,” added Leon.
With his newfound confidence, Leon has even managed to find his partner in colourful crime. Leon met his wife through the Dorset Arts Facebook page, when he messaged her to compliment the artwork she was sharing.
“She liked what I was about and my colourful outfits and wearing the wigs, so we met in March last year and got married in July!
“She was also coming out of that dark place of wanting to wear colourful clothes but thinking ‘what will people say?’. We got married in rainbow outfits, I had a rainbow suit and she had a rainbow dress – it was amazing.”
What has Leon learnt from being brave enough to be inexcusably himself?
“It has given me a positive outlook because I don’t really care what people think. You have to have that belief. Once people get to know you they look forward to seeing you. I just do it because I want to do it.
For those looking to be a bit more like Neon Leon, he has one message: “Just be yourself.”
“With what’s going on in the world today you’ve got to keep a positive mind. I also try to only think about the day you are in and not worry about the past or the future,” Leon added.
Keep up to date with Neon Leon’s colourful outfits here.