Featured Salons & Stylists

THE SECRETS OF A SESSION STYLIST

milk_shake® multiple salon owner & British session stylist Andrew Smith is quite an inspiration : he’s wise, he’s passionate and a social media whizz for his brand.

Andrew Smith Salons began working with milk_shake® earlier this year having used Wella Sebastian for many years. Recently Andrew has been spotted at Cannes Film Festival, backstage at a number of London Shows and is looking forward to London Fashion Week. At the same time, he successfully runs four busy Andrew Smith Salons! milk_shake® got the opportunity to grab a Latte with Andrew and find out more about his amazing work!

milk_shake haircare andrew smith session stylist

You work in a salon and as a session stylist, which do you prefer?

I will always prefer the salon atmosphere over everything- I love being super creative and meeting amazing people with amazing talents at shows and on shoots but nothing beats the salon atmosphere for me. I love to be part of a working family and produce gorgeous hair for everyday people, meeting clients from all walks of life and listening to their stories. I get a huge amount of motivation from my salon team and also our clients.

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How did you get into session styling?

I’ve always been interested in session work as I feel it differs from the kind of thing we do daily in the salon and I have always had a real thirst for knowledge so really wanted to learn more about that side of the industry. I gained a place on a large brands creative team and whilst on that team I learnt so much about the world of session styling and created hair for shows during London Fashion week three years running. I was lucky enough to be asked to style hair for a Versace underwear shoot which was amazing but my big break if you like came when I was introduced to a truly lovely and talented lady who owns a modeling agency and creative agency. She is responsible for putting events together as well as providing models for various shoots/events and we have built a great working relationship together where we constantly recommend each other’s talents- this year I even managed to land myself a place on the creative team at Cannes fashion and film festival!.

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What are the negatives/positives of session work?

There aren’t really any negatives other than things not running to plan but that kind of thing is really left in the hands of the designers/event planners and in those circumstances it’s best to remember that were there to do a job so try to keep on track. The best bits are being part of a creative team and producing creations that look stunning on the runway/in the camera. Bringing ideas and enthusiasm back to the salon family and our clients is a huge pleasure for all. Its also a great opportunity to build a portfolio of images, videos and interesting content for social!

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Any advice for someone who is considering this sort of work?

My main bit of advice is to soak up as much knowledge and inspiration as you can, the world of session styling has no limit s- one show could be classic styling and the next be completely avant garde!. To get the backing of a big brand is always key as it gives you support and guidance. I have been incredibly lucky to have the support from my salons brand partners- milk_shake® and Wonderful Life Hair Supplies as they sponsored me with products to take with me on international events as well as London shows and shoots. Through social media not only have we been able to promote our salons but we’ve also received promotion from milk_shake® which is amazing support and really does promote our efforts and make sure that a wider audience sees the hard work that we put in.

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Tell us about your most recent shoot :

Most recently I was asked to style hair for Fashion designer Chanel Joan Elkayam’s fashion show in London. It was a relatively small intimate event with 8 models all with one look so back stage was calm and relaxed which resulted in beautiful looks being created. This show was a lead up to her main event which will be during London fashion week and Paris.

I also travelled to Cannes for the world famous Film Festival to style hair for fashion designer Nancy Vuu this was offered to me from Jera Creatives, whilst in Cannes I took part in various shoots and the main show event -a huge part in the festivals schedule.

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Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from the teams at Andrew Smith Salons team. They inspire me to further myself in order to be able to motivate them. They look up to me and want to follow what I’m doing which I encourage – hairdressing isn’t just about being in the salon it can include session styling or working on shoots, it can include teaching and passing knowledge down or becoming management and leading a team.

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What’s in your kit bag?

Whats not in my kit bag lol!. Okay so the MAIN things I couldn’t live without in my kit bag are:-

* Open Air Hairspray by milk_shake® as its the most workable light spray that can be layered throughout the hair to give incredible memory hold

* milk_shake® Glistening Spray by as it transforms any texture into glistening shine which gives a diamond reflection to any light

* NO INHIBITION Volumizing Powder as it gives amazing texture and volume even to the most non responsive hair

* Molding Mud by NO INHIBITION as its a great all rounder- great for curly hair, great to add into super clean hair to make it more pliable and great for invisible hold

* All my electrical tools are by HOT TOOLS – they are literally the very best I’ve used and you can certainly rely on them to achieve any desired look quickly!. I’m in love with their round tongs, straighteners and their hairdryer

* All of my brushes are by Kent and I will never touch anything else

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What can we expect from Andrew Smith Salons next?

My Plans include continuing to make my salons successful and growing with the support of my product brand milk_shake® enabling me to keep busy. This year I have shoots booked at least every three months, teamed up with an amazing PR company, events planned locally and nationally, hopefully teaming up more with product brands and most importantly this year sees my first ever entry into the British hairdressing awards 🙂

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