Jay Birmingham brings us backstage at Fashion Week to share his advice for handling a packed calendar of clients.

Jay Birmingham at BRIT awards

Jay Birmingham backstage at the BRIT Awards with Maya Jama

“Fashion month is always a huge whirlwind. Going between London, Paris and Milan is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the buzzing atmosphere of each fashion capital.

As a hairstylist deeply entrenched in this world, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the magic that unfolds backstage, and now more regularly working with clients who are attending the shows. More than ever, all eyes are on those sitting front row, therefore it is so important to nail the look head to toe.

Managing your time effectively during Fashion Week, which is typically a fast-paced and hectic period, requires careful planning and organisation. I start by looking at the schedule well in advance and the timings of the bigger shows. This allows me to predict where the buzz will be. It’s also important to prioritise, as you can’t be in two places at once. This involves carefully planning my own schedule, as travel needs to be factored in, alongside extra ‘buffer’ time to account for unexpected delays or last minute changes. Doing so helps reduce stress and ensures that I arrive on time for each commitment.

Conversely, it’s vital to stay flexible for last minute bookings which can lead to great opportunities with new talent, some of which I might not have worked with if it wasn’t for Fashion Week. Behind all the glamour is a lot of prep and hours of travel, from prepping wigs to making sure my kit is stocked, so planning in advance is key.

This Fashion Week I worked with some incredible talent, including the wonderful Maya Jama for the Albert Ferretti show in Milan. Maya’s look featured a choppy cut with bangs and lots of movement throughout the hair.

I also had the privilege of styling Maya for the BRIT Awards, which fell during the Fashion Week craziness! Maya was one of the hosts for the night, and we decided on a style featuring the ‘butterfly effect’. This involved adding numerous layers to the hair to create a textured yet sleek look, which complimented her stunning black gown. I was on hand at the O2 Arena to help with final touch ups, both behind the scenes and on the red carpet.

Jay Birmingham backstage
Jay Birmingham's hair kit
Jay Birmingham doing wig prep

L-R: Jay with Blanca Soler and wig prep for Maya

London Fashion Week also saw me create one of my favourite looks for my client, Munroe Bergdorf. It was for the Self Portrait show and focused on crafting a playful style to showcase her new bold copper colour. I love to look at the client’s colour and shades and find ways to style the hair to complement the overall aesthetic. This season also saw me work with the amazing Blanca Soler for Burberry, Amina Muaddi for the Tiffany X British Vogue event, and Xenia Adonts for the Prada and Gucci shows. All were very different and contrasting looks to one another, but it’s great to experiment with different styles and get creative. After all, this is what Fashion Week is all about!

As a hairstylist, Fashion Week serves as both a showcase of our skills and a testament to the transformative power of hair in the world of fashion. Until next season, we’ll continue to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation, one hairstyle at a time.”