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Oliver Woods is a top hairstylist with an impressive client list: Robbie Williams, Jude Law, Brad Pitt, GQ, Interview, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and various campaigns.

 

How did you get into the industry?

I managed to get an interview at a big named hairdressers through a youth training scheme which, at the time, the government were pushing to get the numbers down from the jobless total, and where I lived there wasn’t much around so I worked very hard to get a trade. I got a certificate to say I could cut hair after two years and I stayed on at where I was working to finish the training.

You are well known for your work on men’s styling, do you favour this over women’s styling?

I found that my love of men’s fashion helped me tackle the problem of why men’s haircuts looked so bad, and that by cutting in a style that suited them and not putting the same style on everyone it made my job more interesting. That’s not to say I don’t like the women’s side of it too. I find I can be more expressive with women’s hair, but a reputation in men’s is always good to have.

How important is being represented by the right agency?

I have been lucky to have found some great agents in my business and the one that I started with shaped where I am today. I learned very quickly that you must trust your agent at all times but never be afraid to express your point of view. They will always do what’s best for you as it will be good for them if I’m on the right jobs. And they get to know my clients as well so they build a relationship with them and it’s all one big family. If their reputation gets bigger then you get better work and higher rates.

What inspires you from pop culture?

Films really are a big part of where I get my inspiration. Old and new depending on what shoot I’m doing as they tend to have a theme. I like an era such as the late 50’s, stars like Montgomery Clift and James Dean and Jane Seberg. And all the big hair of the sixties in which Jane Fonda and Sophia Loren were big stars.

What is the best and worst thing about being a freelance hairstylist?

The worst thing about it is you never know when you’re working and that can be a bit of a worry. More so in the past but now it doesn’t seem to be much of a factor as it once was. As for best thing that has to be the experience of traveling the world, seeing new places and meeting the biggest stars. Getting your work in really good publications which builds your reputation.

Image by Neil O’Keeffe.