This months Professional Hairdresser column, written by our team looks at the impact woman have on the hairdressing world.
“Women have been such a huge part of my life and essentially the reason why I started hairdressing. I have three sisters and growing up my father worked away from home a lot. Every evening our house would be full of women, my brother and I were in the minority. It was just the norm that my mum, nan, aunty, two cousins and my three sisters would be at the house. This was the case every day without fail for my entire childhood. Vogue, Elle, the obligatory gossip magazines were always around the house. I actually recall running home knowing that my aunty was coming to the house that night with the new Vogue! Talk would be of make-up, clothes and of course hair.
I was ten years old when I walked into my mum’s bedroom and saw her blow drying her usually wild curly hair straight, she looked incredible. I can still remember it now. I was mesmerized. I asked what she’d done and she showed me with the hair dryer how to smooth and straighten her hair. That night when she went out I slipped into her room and started practicing on myself. For a lad of ten years of age who’d only ever been into football, athletics, rugby etc it was slightly odd that all of a sudden I took a huge interest in hair! But as mothers do, my mum, nan and aunty nurtured what I wanted to do; they encouraged my passion for fashion and beauty much to the disbelief of the other males in my family!
That there says the power of women, without those women letting me practice, coming to all my model nights and buying me my kit I wouldn’t be a hairdresser right now, let alone a hairdresser of any substance.
So, naturally I object when anything negative is said about women hairdressers. To begin with, look at all the power brokers in the industry – Sacha Mascolo Tarbuck, Karine Jackson and Tracey Devine. Then look at previous winners of British Hairdressing Awards, granted of late it has been a lot of men that have dominated the British Hairdresser of the Year title, but previous winners Lisa Shepherd, a fellow PH columnist, and Antoinette Beenders have represented female talent in the past decade. Ultimate respect to all woman who fight through to make it to the top. We just need more of them.
I can’t talk about women in the industry without mentioning the most influential woman in my life today, Lesley Clarke. What Lesley has done for the industry is sometimes overlooked and overshadowed by Nicky’s success. She drove the company, managed the business and Nicky, as well as raising two children. She courted press, ran a successful salon group, product company and had the foresight to position Nicky in the mainstream media whilst keeping his credibility. Without Lesley there is no way this brand would be where it is now, and I also think the industry wouldn’t have the profile in the media it now does.
In last month’s issue, the focus was all about London, and in the April issue I’ll be focusing on another fashion city but it meant I never got to talk about my favorite time of year. New Year. The New Year brings resolutions, promises, ideas, goals and a new enthusiasm to work. But it is also a time to reflect and look back on the previous year, at the things we did well and the things we didn’t do well and then learn from those mistakes. Last year for me was filled with professional joy and personal sadness. I could say it was the best and worst year of my life.
Professionally, I achieved all the things I set out to do; cementing myself on daytime TV was part of the plan, as was winning an award. I did both of these. I set a lot of work goals for 2012 including getting the products out…this time last year my desk and kit bag was full of samples to the point where I was completely swamped so I organised myself and we released Nicky Clarke Weightless Treatment with Argan Oil, Instant Calmer, masks and some shampoo’s and conditioners. I also got Heat Protection, a leave in conditioner spray signed off and a few more in development. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, products aren’t easy to get out when you consider the work going into them then the stability and compatibility they have to go on. So that was a success.
I’d set myself other goals, immerse myself more in education and the industry and lastly to begin to properly learn how to run a business which would mean liaising with the managers, attending every management day and every board meeting!
Then there are the things that come your way that you haven’t planned for. I did Rihanna’s hair and we won an award for one of our products Tease Me. I plan meticulously and leave nothing to chance; the next seven years are mapped out in a strategic plan but what I think we’re good at as a company is that we’re proactive.
I wanted to change the perception of myself, as somebody who was stuck in the studio shooting all the time. I don’t ever want to be pigeon holed as a Session Stylist. There are other arms to my job that I enjoy and there are other aspects to me as a hair stylist and a person than just somebody in the studio all the times.
I wanted to be recognised as more of a front man, not necessarily a face, but somebody who can present, be on stage, interact with audiences, talk to camera. I did this at trade events and would like to think I did it successfully. I’m going to continue this by hosting Professional Hairdresser Live 2013 and take that a step further!
I was cutting my friend Matthew Williamson’s hair just before the New Year and we reflected over the year together. Naturally we spoke about the Olympics, the buzz in London, moving houses and professionally we spoke about fashion, the transcendence of fashion and what we liked or disliked. He said to me ‘Warren let this be your last conversation about the past, you can’t change that. It’s all about the future’.
We then looked to the future; ideas, ideas, ideas it’s amazing how both hair and a fashion brand can interchange with one another and find common ground. We looked at fashion, what we predict will be the forthcoming trends this season, even more so important with S/S2013 fashion week shows around the corner.
‘Warren, I’m sick to death of hairdressers. Hair has dominated so much over seasons past. The beehive’s at Prada then all that dip dye at Prada, it’s too much,’ he said. I got the impression hair needs to take a step back, and in truth I’d thought this for some time but usually ego takes over. If you think about hair as an extension of the woman, nothing more and nothing less.”