Make do and trend – Neil Moodie’s aspirational teen wardrobe

by | Mar 1, 2022 | Education, Ireland, News

A headshot of session stylist Neil Moodie

How resourcefulness, determination and creativity in Neil Moodie’s formative years left a lasting impact

Brand ambassador, podcaster and London Fashion Week regular – editorial stylist Neil Moodie has built up an enviable contacts book following decades of backstage work and successful salon ownership. But he wasn’t always so well-connected.

In the March 2022 issue of Creative HEAD, Neil shared how his humble beginnings in the Midlands have helped shape his approach to hairdressing to this very day, and we’ve got the photographic evidence! It all started with an insatiable passion for fashion…

“Having grown up in a working-class family outside Birmingham, resourcefulness was a skill I learnt early. My mum loved to ‘make do and mend’, knitting us jumpers and reworking old jeans and trousers into shorts. I was originally against hand-me-downs and pre-loved clothes as – like many youths – I wanted everything new.

In the early ’80s I was a hairdressing apprentice with Champagne taste on a lemonade budget! Neil Moodie

“I drew inspiration from music idols such as David Bowie, Yazoo’s Alison Moyet, Annie Lennox, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet.

I was also obsessed with fashion, especially Yohji Yamamoto who used to do amazing three quarter-length oversized dress trousers in black.

“I copied those by altering some old, oversized tuxedo trousers. Paired with Dr Marten brogues, I thought I was on Yohji’s runway. My mum encouraged this, knitting jumpers like Dolce & Gabbana chenille chunky knits.

Hairdressing in the ’80s wasn’t very sustainable or eco-friendly, although my old boss was so thrifty that he’d even make us measure the exact amount of peroxide needed… It’s possible that rubbed off on me a little.

My early years have influenced how I practice hairdressing. As well as being conscious about recycling and waste, I try to work as sustainably and resourcefully as possible. I always recycle electrical items, and I pass on unwanted hair products to Beauty Banks. I also try to work with brands that share similar values, such as Biolage.”

Take a leaf out of Neil’s book with these three easy tips to make the most of your resources:

Bought yourself (or if you’re really lucky – been gifted) a brand new electrical tool for your kit?
If your old one is still in working order, add it to a back-up stash for communal use in your salon or donate to one of your apprentices. If it’s given up the ghost, instead of sending it straight to landfill by way of the bin, check out’s electrical recycling point locator. You can pop in your postcode and the type of product you want to offload, and it provides a list of nearby retailers and recycling points who’ll happily take it off your hands and make better use of the components.

Is excess stock gathering dust in your backroom?
Or maybe Auntie June has just given you yet another body wash gift set you’ll never use? The organisation Neil name-checked, Beauty Banks, works just like a food bank, but specialises in collecting unwanted body and haircare products. Its aim is to provide personal care and hygiene products to people in the UK living in hygiene poverty via registered charities like refuges and homeless facilities. You can send products their way using the handy website, or pop them in collection point ‘bins’ in hundreds of Superdrug locations across the UK.

Serious about scaling back your use of plastics?
You’ve probably already ditched single use water bottles, so the next step is checking out our Most Wanted ‘Sustainability Hero’ award-winners’ Anne Veck and Keith Mellen’s latest Creative HEAD column, in which they outline simple ways to reduce plastic consumption in your business. You can also catch them at Salon Smart 2022 on 21st March, where they’ll be sharing even more actionable advice.

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