Fashion’s finest unite as The Coterie returns to Edinburgh

Syd Hayes, Josh Goodwin, Jack Baxter and Christopher Miles

Last night The Coterie made its triumphant return to Edinburgh, as a selection of salon and session stars descended on the capital for a night of thought-provoking insight into the session world. After a few tag-teams in the line-up, joining the fashion pack were session artists Syd Hayes and Josh Goodwin of the infamous #SydSquad, along with Syd’s art + commerce agent, Christopher Miles, and Jack Baxter, owner of Baxter South and rising session stylist.

How does one go about tackling tough briefs? How do you balance session projects alongside other work commitments? Money versus creative gain…These were just some of the pressing questions on the agenda, as the stellar line-up shared their take on developing a career within salon and session – and how uniting the two can offer the best of both worlds. Hosted by Creative HEAD publisher Catherine Handcock, the conversation offered a fresh take on art and commerce, while highlighting the importance of adapting in an ever-evolving industry – an important message in the current climate. Here are some of the highlights…

Why teamwork makes the dream work…

Christopher: “When building session teams, it’s all about understanding the relationships. Many are very successful artists doing their own work and you’re asking them to assist someone else. It’s important for agents to know the backstory, how everyone fits together.”

Syd: “It’s about teamwork. It’s about having people you can call on, and they will come and do anything. You know they will always help to build – whether it’s a brand, a salon or a show… whatever it is they come, and they muck in. Every one of my team members all has different skills.”

Josh: “I was floating between session teams for years learning the creative process. When I joined Syd Squad I’d been doing this for 12 years, I’d known everyone a long time. There’s always new talent joining Syd Squad, we’re open to it and that’s why it’s great to be part of the team.”

Developing a career that encompasses both salon and session life…

Josh: “Some skills salon stylists may have honed; session artists won’t do regularly. I think your confidence is different if you work in session and salon. It’s been difficult to juggle both – you’ll upset a few clients as your schedule can change last minute but most who know me now, understand. I am passionate about both.”

Jack: “Opening Baxter South wasn’t part of the plan, but I struggled to find a place to give me freedom to do session. Imagine asking an employer to have time off when it only benefits you not the business. It got to the point where I needed to do it myself, so I opened with a self-employment model. Being in Glasgow factors into what I do. There’s a great clientele for me here and it gives me freedom to go and do these other things.”

Syd: “I went into hairdressing, not to work for my Dad’s salon or the industry but because I wanted to create. Do it because it’s your passion. I still do magazine work now and don’t get paid. You do it for the creativity, to push yourself, learn new skills. To create.”

The importance of agents when within the session world…

Christopher: “We always strategize the next step with our artists – customise where they want to go with their career and make sure the end goal is the same. When options come in, we assess the best outcome from the job. We might say no to a paying advertising gig in place of an unpaid editorial that is better for an artists’ career. It’s about long-term thinking, what’s best for the artist.”

Syd: “Agents are so important as you need someone to manage your time and talk money. They represent you and will push to get you your worth. It takes the weight off you; lets you focus on creating.”

What the future holds…

Syd: “The next few weeks/months/years will be an interesting time. It’s happening to the entire industry and I don’t think it’ll be all doom and gloom. It’ll be a chance to reassess and re-evaluate how we do things.”

Special thanks to the night’s kind sponsors BaByliss PRO, who provided every guest with a lucky dip of their styling tools.