What I’ve learned… about taking the step from salon to session outside of London

Senior style director Max Davies has assisted some of session’s finest, such as Darren Fowler and Jason Hall. But when making the step from salon to session, living outside London does have its drawbacks…

“Over the last two years I’ve been really lucky in being able to work on various different shows with the product brand R+Co. Back in September 2017, I first had the opportunity to work on a few of Fashion’s Finest shows across a weekend in London, before assisting again in October 2017.  All of these shows were led by Natasha Briggs, salon director at Briggs & Co, who has continued to help me massively with transitioning into the session world.

Fast forward to January 2018, and things started to get really serious when I was invited out to assist on shows at Milan Fashion Week, which were led by Jan Przemyk across the two days. During the weekend we worked on three different shows, with the largest being for DAKS LONDON, where we had to style a mix of 60 male and female models, with both longer and shorter hair. This experience in particular really showed me how intense the session world can be, but to this day it remains one of the highlights of my career so far.

Later in the year, I worked with the R+Co team for Fashion’s Finest in February, before working with the team again in June for the Wood Wood SS19 Show, this time led by Jan Przemyk. In the same month I also returned to Milan once more, to assist on the DAKS 125th anniversary show, as well as assisting Darren Fowler in Paris a few weeks later.

This year I’ve also had the opportunity to work on shoots – in July I worked with ASBO magazine on a shoot, and later in the year assisted Jason Hall and Desmond Murray on a men’s collection, which has provided a wealth of insight and inspiration for putting together my own collections in the future.

Right now, I’m continuing to focus on growing my skills set, as this will continue to help with pushing myself further into the session world. Initially, I decided to delve into the session world because I wanted to push myself further and experience first-hand how it differs to working in the salon. Living in England, naturally London Fashion Week appealed to me massively and I knew that by assisting on shows across LFW, I would be able to expand my skill set, and ultimately network with others in the industry.

Transitioning from session to salon isn’t always plain sailing. Over the past two years, there have been a few drawbacks to not being within the M25! One of the main problems I face is due to the area I live in – I’m based in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, which is over two hours from Central London. Public transport isn’t always readily available, with very few trains running in the evening, and it can often be very expensive (thanks National Rail!) Living in a rural area also means that I struggle to find a diverse selection of models when producing my own photoshoots, and this often limits creative possibilities.

It’s not all bad though, being the senior style director at Top To Toe means I get to share what I’ve learnt from my travels, and whenever I return from shows it’s great to be able to pass on new skills with the rest of the team.

To see more of Max’s work, head to @maxdoeshair on Instagram.