Talk Pages10A.jpg

Roy Hayward’s career in hairdressing and fashion spans 25 years. As an educator, he draws on his extensive experience in salons, catwalk, editorial and advertising work from around the world. 

How did you get into the industry?

In 1978, when disco gave way to punk which transcended the hippie earlier that decade, I was 15 years old and landed a job as a saturday junior in the uber cool boutique salon Damien & Jason. It’s still to this day the only independent salon to have had advertorials in British Vogue. Based in their Leeds salon, back then it was all about hair-design, the era of the ‘Wedge’ and the ‘Pageboy’ haircuts, which still are two of the most difficult disciplines to master in haircutting. I left school at 16 and started my apprenticeship with the salon. I worked my way though the ranks, then felt the time was right to make the move to London. I guess it was my natural aptitude and creative ability which drew me into the world of hair, the gravitational pull of the universe lured me into the salon. Not such an obvious career choice at the beginning but looking back the perfect career to exemplify the combination of craft, skill and creativity. Transformation being the main stock in trade of the hairdresser, now I straddle between my industries descriptive name albeit hairdresser/educator (salon based) or hairstylist (session).

What is the work you’re most proud of?

There have been many highlights in my career to date, my proudest moment I would have to say was when my book Technique was published back in 2008. Self penned, it’s a complete manual and guide to becoming a professional hairdresser. Since it’s launch in the hairdressing world it has received much acclaim from the industry, particularly in Europe and America. I still get an enormous buzz working backstage on the shows at the international collections but seeing ones work in print is always really exciting.

How has London fed your creativity?

I relocated to London in the mid 1980’s and of course times have changed but having said that, London had an atmosphere and raw energy about it back then which, nowadays seems to have all but disappeared. Every area of creativity - from music to fashion, clubs, street culture, the arts - so much was happening particularly in the fields of music and fashion, as it had in the sixties. Hairdressers were given more of an artistic license to create hair looks which went with the mood of the times. I was exposed to design, art and creativity which inspired me to create for shows and editorials. There’s always a really strong focus on London and in terms of education within the creative realms of hair, fashion and the arts, most with a hunger and passion find they gravitate to the capital. Whether in search of themselves or looking to develop their creativity, London certainly can help feed and nurture the development of one’s career. 

What inspires you from pop culture? 

From the late seventies, I disco danced on the club circuit, mostly in the gay and poly-sexual cult clubs of the day - Warehouse, Hacienda, Wag, Taboo and Heaven. From my early clubbing experiences, pop culture didn’t really play a part in inspiring me, it was all about how we all looked and what we danced to at top of our agenda! Kraftwerk’s electro pop being the closest inspirational sound of that time in the early eighties. Later, post-punk, new romanticism and new wave brought forward the emergence of female artists such as Siouxsie Sioux, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones and Annie Lennox. And who could forget the asymmetric wedge worn by Philip Oakey of The Human League? Thanks to their individuality, the iconic hairstyles they wore became totally inspirational and influential in fashion and mainstream pop culture. Electronic dance music dominated which was mixed with funk culminating in pulsating rhythm. The DJ still hadn’t received superstar status back then. I would say pop culture always plays its part and goes hand-in-hand with fashion and hair. The two seem very harmonious.

What is the best and worst thing about being a freelancer?

I suppose the disadvantage about being freelance is that income is never guaranteed. Chasing invoices being the bone of my contention. The best thing is that you are your own boss, the freedom you have doesn’t really exist in an employed ‘working for someone else’ situation. The worst thing, being asked to work for free! This happens too often especially in the fashion industry, as there’s hardly ever any money. Working on advertising campaigns is where the money jobs are but working on editorials is where one has the chance to utilise creativity and gain valuable exposure. Working freelance means really working! Building a network and finding work simultaneously isn’t easy but no one ever said it would be. Because I already have an established and successful career, I’ve managed to build my ‘brand’ long before the invention of today’s networking and social media channels, which can indeed be really useful tools. But I find word of mouth and personal recommendations from industry colleagues, photographers, fashion stylists and makeup artists is where building great working relationships are often formed. My advice to anyone thinking about going freelance is to weigh up the pros and cons and if its right for you, do it. Make sure you deliver the best work you can to your clients, it’s a very competitive, over saturated market and competition is fierce. Remember, don’t piss people off, its a small world, always be professional. I’ve never looked back!

If you hadn’t taken this path, what career would you have liked?

I would have liked to have been a classical ballet dancer.

Image: Neil O'Keeffe. For more about Roy, his work and his courses, see here.