This issue, Karoliina sits down with session stylist ELLIE BOND…
HI ELLIE, TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER,HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN HAIRDRESSING AND WHERE DID YOUR JOURNEY START?
I didn’t get into hairdressing until I was 22 years old. I studied art at college and then I worked in retail, bars etc. I lived in Australia for a while and when I came back I decided I wanted to get into hairdressing, mainly because I wanted a trade I could travel with. I didn’t qualify for an apprenticeship because I was too old, so instead I paid for a full-time course at college. When I finished, I got a job at a salon in Brentwood. Although I’d done my course, I didn’t have an NVQ, so I had some fast-track training and after five years I ended up as Creative Director at the salon.
YOU WERE PART OF THE FELLOWSHIP F.A.M.E TEAM, HOW DID YOU FIND THE YEAR IN THE TEAM AND WHAT BENEFITS DID IT GIVE TO YOUR CAREER?
I suppose the biggest thing is that it opened up my eyes to the fashion and session world. In that year, we had so many amazing experiences, even getting to work backstage with Eugene Souleiman at Fashion Week.
IT’S SUCH AN AMAZING SPRING BOARD ISN’T IT. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO GET IN THE TEAM?
I’d say go for it. When I applied, I never thought for a minute I’d get in. Don’t be scared or think it’s out of reach – it was an amazing experience for me and gave me confidence and experiences I never thought were possible.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INDEPENDENT AND CHOOSE A CAREER IN SESSION WORK?
After my year in the F.A.M.E Team, I knew that I wanted to go down that route. I became a first assistant to Nick Irwin and that helped me learn so much. I think if session is your path, you have to commit to it fully. I have absolutely no regrets about leaving full-time salon life behind.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR GREATEST ADVICE TO ANYONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT BECOMING A SESSION STYLIST?
Don’t expect to go in at the top. Actually, you’ll get much further if you start out assisting. Ideally, work with a variety of people; it’s invaluable experience and you’ll learn so much. It’s important to have some kind of financial backup or savings; work doesn’t come in all the time and some of the best opportunities like test shoots and editorial are unpaid.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORKING WEEK LOOK LIKE? DO YOU WORK IN A SALON AT ALL OR SOLELY DO SESSION?
It’s mainly session work, but I still have a few clients who I see at The Rubicon in Hackney, which is a great little set-up. My schedule is all over the place and often very last minute, but I couldn’t go back to an employed position. Every week or day is different, I travel lots and could be on a campaign shoot one day, a music video the next. Today, I’ve just got back from Paris Fashion Week.
HOW MUCH OF AN IMPORTANT PART DO YOU THINK SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYS IN OUR INDUSTRY?
On a personal level, I’m not a big fan of social media, but I see how it has massive benefits professionally. For me, it’s a portfolio and lots of my work comes to me through my social. For freelancers, it’s a great way to have a presence and I see so many amazing people utilising it well.
HOW DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR CREATIVE WORK?
It’s everywhere! I’m a big fan of referencing and research. Whether it’s magazines, books, online, social media, I’m always collecting ideas. When I’m on set, I also get inspired by clothes, make-up, styling, they all help to feed my creativity.
IF YOU HAD TO SUM IT UP, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
I would say my work style is raw, undone, a bit of a punk vibe. I’m not a big fan of‘ pretty’ hair or anything too polished or glam. There’s a fine line between being natural and being too messy and dishevelled, but I hope I manage it!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCT IN YOUR KIT BAG?
Well, I carry loads so choosing one is hard!!It would probably be L’Oréal Tecni Art FixMax Gel. I like working with gels and this one sets the hair hard, which is great for strong looks but if you wet it, you can reshape the hair, so it’s adaptable too.
WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO WORK BACKSTAGE AT FASHION WEEK?
You either need to start messaging the agencies and get your name out there or decide who you want to work with and get in touch with them directly. Be bold – tell them you want to be part of their team.And keep on it!
HOW COULD WE MAKE OUR INDUSTRY MORE ATTRACTIVE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO JOIN?
When I started out, I had no idea how many possibilities a career in hair could bring. I thought hairdressing would be a life time of cutting hair and doing blow-dries. But there’s so much more to it.
For more, click here