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with Andrew Barton 'Hairdresser of the Year'
By Heather Bell, UKHairdressers.com
Barton is living the dream, enjoying his year as the reigning British
Hairdresser of the Year, since his win was announced at a glittering awards
ceremony last November, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London's Park
Lane. Andrew's work has long been admired by his peers and celebrity clientele
alike, fashion houses Versace, Prada and Calvin Klein have all enlisted
his skills for their catwalk shows.
In his role as International Creative Director for the Saks Hair & Beauty
group, with over 140 franchise salons nationwide, his inspired images
and seasonal collections are always well received. He is also involved
in developing the company's signature hairdressing techniques and travels
the world presenting his expertise to international hairdressing audiences.
easy, confident approach and warm manner have ensured a faithful following
of clients including TV and media celebrities. Published in 40 countries,
the Saks collection of 'hair looks' for 2007 by the Saks Art Team is called
High Definition; inspired by international catwalk trends and woman's
needs and desires. Ranging from fringed crop to swishing bob, from lazy
layers to retro rock gothe, it's already made an impact on this year's
not about quirky, edgy hair and am more inspired by its innate beauty
rather than creating extreme textures." he says. "Years ago that was very
much where I was at, but now for me it's more about creating luxe, desirable
hair. I guess I'm living proof that you change and adapt your style as
Saks has a strong high street presence, following over 30 years in the
business, they also operate salons in David Lloyd Clubs and for British
Airways as their nominated hair and beauty partner.
Pictured left: Saks fabulous Covent Garden salon
Barton's fan base has further increased, since he became a resident hair
expert on the popular Channel 4 makeover show 'Ten Years Younger'. Five
million viewers watched each episode, because Andrew has that special
talent for being able to visualise how someone could look with the right
transforming style, then he makes it a reality for them
. Although much of his time is spent travelling abroad;
teaching at the Saks Academies, on shoots or TV, he
still works in-salon at Saks St Pauls whenever he
can and thrives on the energy it generates.
Here at UKHairdressers.com, we're delighted he has also found time to
talk to us and answer some of the questions our viewers have been asking:
Tell us what it meant to you, Andrew, winning the coveted Hairdresser
of the Year award and some of the events that have happened since?
The emotion of being named British Hairdresser of the Year was overwhelming.
I never imagined the feeling of exhilaration that it would cause. I screamed
as my name was called out as it was like a bomb had gone off. I can only
now imagine how an actor must feel being awarded with an Oscar, after
all, the hairdressing awards are the Oscars of the hair industry. It's
the top accolade and one that many people strive for years to achieve.
I'm really proud that I was awarded this title after my fourth nomination.
I was so delighted that I had my closest people around me to share in
that fantastic moment. All the people at my table have helped me achieve
Peter Belcher (Schwarzkopf Professionals MD), Andrew Barton (British Hairdresser
of the Year), Jayne Lewis-Orr (HJI Publisher/ Editor-in-chief) and Jonathan
Ross (TV Presenter)
Andrew Barton heard he had
won the Award.
weeks after the award was given my joy has not subsided. I'm walking around
with a permanent grin on my face. But beyond the grin, the pride and the
joy I understand there is a huge responsibility that comes with the award
and I'm excited to embrace this responsibility as ambassador of the hairdressing
industry. At Saks we are busily working on ideas and plans to ensure I
represent the industry well and make a difference. It's about me but it's
also about what I do with the award for the hairdressing industry. Part
of this includes work for AIDS awareness which affects the young in particular.
Over half of the newly infected cases hit the under 25's. The hairdressing
industry is full of young people so if I can use my win to raise awareness
then that will be something that I'll be proud of!
When did you first realise you wanted to become a hair stylist and where
did you start?
never dreamed of being a hairdresser at school or felt natural leanings
toward it, although I did used to love going to the salon and watching
my mum have her hair done. She was a ravishing beauty of hair, nails and
fragrance back when she was a young hip chick and still looks good now!
With this in mind, I guess the foundations were there. I was fascinated
by fashion and design and left school to start studying at Art School
as a fabric designer. It's still something I look at and am excited about
today. Print, colour and texture. I love some of the classic designers
such as William Morris and adore what the Designer's Guild do with colour.
Although I love pattern and colour, everything around me is neutral and
calm in colour. I guess I use the rest as influences. Anyway, Art School
didn't offer the glamour and buzz of a salon so I stumbled into a very
traditional apprenticeship and for this I'm eternally grateful!
If you had chosen another profession, what would it have been?
an early age I had a passion for design, aesthetics and fashion. My best
subject at school was Art. My early ambition was to be a fabric designer
and the world of textile, pattern and design still fascinates me. I attend
many arts exhibitions and am always thrilled to visit the degree shows
from various Arts Colleges. I think my career would have been designing
fabric. The world of fashion is hugely exciting to me but the fact that
colour designers who work with fabric create trends long before fashion
designers do is something quite fascinating to me. Whether I would have
survived in a studio creating intricate time-consuming designs is possibly
the reason I ended up drifting into hairdressing. I love being around
people so working in an environment that is both social and creative is
You've been quoted as saying, joining Saks was the best career decision
you ever made. What stage of your career had you reached, when you
made that choice?
When I met Saks I was a highly established member of the Toni &Guy
Artistic team. I'd managed many of their most successful central London
salons and was travelling the world on behalf of the Toni &Guy and
TIGI brands presenting shows and seminars. This was 10 years agoand
it was a very different company to what it is today. I loved my time
working with the Mascolos and they were very supportive of my career
and me as a person, but it was time to move on to other challenges.
I knew the moment I met Stephen Kee, Saks' Managing Director, I wanted
to work with him. He had a great vision for where he wanted the Saks
brand to go and I could see the opportunity and the journey. Saks
were 40 salons back then and we now have over 140, with a fantastic
award-winning education business and a central London Academy that
has just doubled in size - there's a lot more for us to do!
Saks is officially acknowledged as the UK's Best Training Provider (that's
in any industry not just hair and beauty). What key points make Saks so
good at developing new stylists?
We are obviously very proud of our recent government awards and they were
achieved by a team of truly brilliant people who care passionately about
what we do. Team and education has been part of the Saks brand ethos from
the very first salon over 30 years ago. Back then the two directors had
a vision to create a career for their staff that
still at the very heart of what we do today. Education runs through our
blood. It's the sharing of knowledge that has helped us grow into being
the UK's leading hair and beauty salon group. I guess in essence it has
a lot to do with our history and certainly the team.
We heard you created some amazing looks for a shoot that led Penny Lancaster
to invite you to her hotel suite at the Waldorf to style her hair. What
look did you create for her?
For many of us in the Saks Art Team creating looks for celebrities, fashion
catwalk and TV personalities is a part of what we do. The first time I
worked with Penny was for a campaign for Specsavers, the high street optical
chain. She was a delight to work with. She's a photographer as well as
a mother, wife and model and I share her interest in photography. The
campaign meant that she had to have many changes to complement different
messages, from sexy vamptress to rock chick. It was a great shoot with
some fab shots!
Did you meet Rod Stewart while you were there and given the chance, would
you be tempted to restyle his signature shaggy locks?
Leave Rod alone! There's nothing wrong with his hair. He's the epitome
of the mature rock star. If I look that good when I'm his age I'll be
What is the strangest brief/location you've had when styling a celebrity's
have been as diverse as making someone look like an animal - a zebra!
To weird places like underground stations at night to adverse weather
conditions, models in bikinis in snow to fur coats in scorching temperatures!
All in a days work.
We always like to ask stylists, what is their own particular favourite
hairstyle of all time?
me it's about beauty and my winning British Hairdresser of the Year pictures
conjure that up for me. I think as you mature as a hairdresser your tastes
change and your creativity changes. What once appealed to me doesn't now.
I'm not a stylist that particularly likes trendy, edgy hair. My inspiration
is beauty and luxury and I think the work I do today is nearer to my character
as a hairdresser than ever before.
Also, what scissors do you use for creating your cuts and looks?
been a lover of Yasaka blades pretty much all my career. I'm currently
trialling many for a soon-to-be-launched Saksessories range. We've had
a range of tools for quite a few years that our team uses and we stock
via our website and the Academies but watch this space for our new range!
How do you go about creating your signature collections? Is it difficult
to think up new ideas each year?
annual Saks campaign is a huge part of our business strategy. It becomes
the fashion stock that we sell to our clients and is part of our commitment
to our staff to continually expand their hairdressing career. It's the
collection that often drives many people to want to open a franchise with
us. The collection is much more than a series of images but also a series
of step by step techniques on the latest cut and colour techniques. There
are collections created for fun and ego and collections that are created
for commercial reasons. With all of this in mind a lot of time, effort
and energy is spent by some key people within our team to ensure the collection
is a viable success. Afterall, the collection is seen around the globe.
It's not difficult to think up new ideas as we have a process that is
much more than one man's efforts - It's what Saks is about… Team!
GIRL is an eternal sex kitten, Bardot-inspired look - dressed-up and undone
at the same time. Honey, cream and biscuit blondes dance through cleverly
tailored layers and the essential peek-a-boo fringe. This look suits all
face shapes particularly square and angular faces as the textured lengths
frame the jaw line.
of the "Looks" from the current collection
ICE QUEEN adds an edge of indifferent relaxed glam to Debbie Harry-influenced
rock chic. It exudes chunky textures and multi-toned pastel blonde. This
look suits all face shapes as the length can be adjusted to tailor fit.
is a Bowie-esque head hugging style offset by low maintenance, hidden
slices of colour. The textured, military vibe is sporty and energetic
with a nod to mod and ska. Out-grown at the edges, it blurs the lines
of the traditional short back and sides. Hand-painted colour techniques
are smudged through the ends of the hair creating a low maintenance effect.
What tips can you give to up and coming hairstylists?
Learn from the best and when they say it's not good enough just take it
on the chin. Do it again and again until it is good enough. I'm from a
northern working class family and I'm so grateful that my parents taught
me this. The word 'okay' doesn't exist in my vocabulary and I've been
surrounded by mentors throughout my career who have instilled this into
me. If a client says its okay, IT ISN'T!
The Channel 4 makeover show 'Ten Years Younger' has been very popular,
can you describe a particular makeover that gave you the most satisfaction?
The show is incredibly successful and was the first of the new genre of
makeover style shows. I've been proud to be involved since the first series
and have met some remarkable women during the filming of the show. It's
a laugh being recognised on the street as 'that hairdresser off the telly'.
Each contributor has brought new challenges and they've all been fun to
work with. The best bit is that the industry respects the show and says
great things about it. Many stylists have written to me and said that
it's boosted their business and that for me is fantastic. I think the
show really communicates the difference a good cut and colour makes and
this drives people into salons.
Article by Heather Bell
You're involved in helping to raise money for the Hair & Beauty Benevolent
(HABB), a charity dedicated to helping hair and beauty professionals,
and their families, if they find themselves facing hard times. Can you
tell us about your work for the charity and the competition you're currently
running to help them?
felt it was vital during my jubilant year as British Hairdresser of the
Year that I used my voice where it may be needed. I believe that HABB
is one such cause that every hairdresser should adopt. We all have our
own personal causes in our lives outside our careers that mean so much
to us but this is the one linked to our work. None of us know when we
may need a helping hand and the fact that there is a charity (which I'm
convinced not every hairdresser / therapist knows about) that can help
is brilliant. Throughout the year we are holding various events to raise
funds within the industry and wherever my voice can be utilised we are
Our thanks to Andrew for giving us such an interesting and informative
interview. His advice and willingness to help others follow their dreams
is inspiring. He is certainly a worthy winner of "British Hairdresser
of the Year".