What I’ve learned… from working with young designers

“I’ve always believed that poverty fuels creativity”

John Vial is one of the most in demand session stylists, but you’re just as likely to find him working with a fledgling designer fresh out of art school as you are to find him with a slick, well-established brand. This year at London Fashion Week Men’s, he continued his collaboration with Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, the label created by a young creative who only graduated in 2015 but has already been turning heads in the fashion industry. Charles’ collections are inspired by his free-spirited East London club night, Loverboy, and the hair is equally show stopping.

Be flexible

Young designers like Charles respect the individual, which is exciting because you never know quite what’s going to happen. Even on the day of the show, we are often still making final decisions about the looks. The models needed to look like a bunch of club kids expressing themselves – it’s the antithesis of big campaigns and wealthy clients.

Embrace their energy

Small houses with young talent always have the best energy – that’s what I love. The Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY A/W17 collection travelled through space and time, so the hair had to reference that. Our inspiration came from so many different places – it’s not often that you’ll have an Elvis-style look on the catwalk alongside a Star Wars one! We were cutting wigs backstage, and gave a few models sharp bowl cuts in a homage to Vidal Sassoon. It felt like we were recycling the past and creating a journey into the future.

Consider colour

It’s not often that hair colour is more important than styling, but I just thought why can’t I get loads of amazing colourists to do the A/W16 show? It’s not unusual for a session team to have people from different brands so why can’t we do it for colour? It’s about a group of individuals working together to push out something really creative. It’s so unusual for people of this calibre to get together.

Remember the runway

The runway is so unforgiving. There are harsh backlights, no filters, a live audience, lots of clothes being pulled over the head, and no retouching. If the hair is not impeccably finished, is really shows. Take that level of finish back to a salon and you will be fully booked for months ahead. 

Get involved

At Revlon (where John is the global influencer), we are building a ‘backstage pass’ programme, to help hairstylists get involved with session work. I love working with new hungry talent – the energy is amazing. I have to rob a quote of Vidal Sassoon here: “the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary!” Learn your craft, know it inside out , upside down, eat, breathe and sleep it… then and only then SMASH IT TO PIECES! Pushing the boundaries of creativity is what keeps British design in all mediums at the forefront !