More than 1,750 hair aficionados gathered at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane to celebrate the best of British hairdressing talent at the illustrious British Hairdressing Awards, the UK’s most prestigious celebration of the most creative and technically gifted hairstylists in Great Britain & Northern Ireland.
Winning the ultimate accolade of the night was Robert Eaton from Russell Eaton Hair in Leeds, who was announced 2019 British Hairdresser of the Year. It was a double celebratory night for him, as he was also inducted into the hallowed British Hairdressing Awards Hall of Fame thanks to his three consecutive Schwarzkopf Professional Colour Technician of the Year wins in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
“When I first started in the hairdressing industry, my dad gave me a Trevor Sorbie book, and he said, ‘One day this could be you winning those hairdressing awards,’ and now I’ve done it!” Robert said
Robert’s winning collection is a stunning display of dexterity and creativity, encapsulating a plethora of textures, cuts, styles, shapes and colours and combining them seamlessly.
“I’m madly passionate about the hairdressing industry, I love every single element about it. It’s been my whole life since I left school and I hope I can be a mentor to other young hairdressers too. I would love to thank my Wella Professionals family and most of all, the amazing salon teams at Russell Eaton in Barnsley and Leeds!”
Hair Expo caught up with Rob after his incredible win to get the inside scoop on his stunning collection and what’s next for the hairdressing star.
Hair Expo: Congratulations on taking home the ultimate accolade from the British Hairdressing Awards, British Hairdresser of the Year! How does it feel to take home the top award the first year you were nominated?
Robert Eaton: It’s amazing! I didn’t expect to win at all. I was just so happy to be nominated by people in the industry. I was bowled over by the response on the night as well. I’ve been working towards this dream for so long, in fact it’s been a 22 year journey to get this far. It’s fantastic to achieve it for myself, but also for my family. So many people have been congratulating me – even Charles Worthington sent me a card – which was an incredible surprise because it’s people like him who I’ve respected for years, and admired as I was growing up in the hairdressing world!
Each image of your collection is a vastly different display of skill and trends than the one before it. Did you source inspiration for each image from different people/places/experiences?
I wanted to talk about colour in this collection, but a priority was to ensure that there were diverse elements of styling and creativity that jumped out and appealed to all tastes. First and foremost, I’m proud to be a salon based hairdresser and I need to make sure that I’m creating images that will appeal to my clients.
Each shot has a different coloured background and that’s how I weaved a colour story through it all. There’s a breadth of hair textures, lengths and colour work too, which looks great as a group of images, but it also mirrors the diversity of people who come in to the salons.
Your collection explores every element of the art of hairdressing, from a multitude of different styles, colours, cuts, textures, and finishes. What element was your most enjoyable to work with when creating this collection?
That’s such a hard question! I loved creating all the looks. I shot the collection over three days and when we changed the backgrounds and the hair focus, it made me feel like I was shooting multiple collections in one! I loved creating the textured and silhouetted shapes, and I’m fond of the pink and brown backgrounded images, but it’s really a hard one to properly identify one favourite. I’m just passionate about all elements of hair!
What inspires you, both in the salon and creatively?
I am always keeping my eyes alert for images that spark my thoughts. I’ve got an inspiration board in my office that I pin cuttings on, and an ideas folder on my laptop into which I save any colour schemes, Pinterest photos and nice shots that I come across. It’s a constant process because I’m always coming across something that gives me a flicker of creativity. More than ever, I am inspired by different photography styles that I see, and how I can introduce these into my hair shoots.
Day to day in the salon, we share ideas between us and I make a point of watching what the younger team members are doing, and also what trends are emerging based on client requests and team suggestions. A collection needs to have the wow factor but it’s also a commercial tool for us, which will drive business and give clients inspiration – so it’s important to showcase achievable and desirable looks that likewise inspire customers and give them ideas of what they could do with their hair.
What’s next on your agenda? Any grand projects or plans for 2020?
First of all it’s enjoying this amazing win! Then in December I am looking forward to being a salon stylist again with the team. 2020 is already very busy with shows, shoots, seminars and events. A massive focus will continue to be working hard in our two salons in Leeds and Barnsley to make sure they’re successful.