When hairdressers throughout the world look for inspiration when dressing long hair they look to one man for creativity, inspiration and motivation – Patrick Cameron.
Having travelled to the four corners of the world many times, Patrick is acknowledged by his peers as the long hair expert. Since arriving in the United Kingdom from New Zealand in 1987, Patrick has worked in association with global manufacturer, Wella. Renowned for his skills in dressing long hair, Patrick is also the consummate professional, inspiring hairdressers with his unique blend of education and his fantastic ability to make even the most complex hairstyle look easy. Attendees to his stage performances are always enthralled by the theatrical element Patrick injects into his presentations.
A regular presenter at the most prestigious global hairdressing events, Patrick has demonstrated his skills at Cosmoprof, the IBS, The World Hairdressing Congress, The Alternative Hair show, The World Championship, The London Hair Collections, The World Congress in Sydney, Looks in Rimini, The Austrian Hair Congress, Salon Look and Salon International in London. It is at Salon International each year that Patrick unveils his latest collection, providing inspiration with his latest techniques and images to hairdressers globally.
Patrick’s skills are very much in demand. His Training School in London provides students with an opportunity to work with him on a one to one basis and throughout the year he takes the school on the road providing students in New York, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Los Angeles and Dublin with their very own Patrick Cameron Training School. Patrick is keen to put back something into the industry that has given him so much and each year he takes time out of his schedule to visit at least five hairdressing colleges and demonstrate his skills and pass on his expertise to young hairdressing students.
Education is paramount to any hairdresser’s growth and development and to increase awareness in long hair dressing and to dispel the myth that long hair dressing is complicated Patrick has produced a selection of visual learning tools, which are easy to follow and break down any language barrier.
Patrick’s philosophy is one that has taken him around the world and translates well into any language – “my aim is to create natural looks that make a client feel feminine.” Educating hairdressers throughout the world in the art of dressing long hair has allowed Patrick to create a unique place for himself in hairdressing’s hall of fame. His zest, energy, vitality and dedication to his craft seem to be never ending. One of the most giving, charming and talented people you could ever meet, Patrick is a true master of his craft.
Working with his team of hand picked experts, Patrick has developed his own special brand of style and elegance. In addition to his business partner, Susan Callaghan, and the administrator and co-ordinator of the Patrick Cameron Training School and Merchandise, Marco Everard, Patrick works closely with designer Marco Erbi each year to create a stunning new collection of hair and couture predictions for the forthcoming season.
Click here for a Word copy of Patrick's biography
We have compiled the most popular questions asked in an assortment of interviews Patrick has done over the years. Here are some of them:
Where were you born?
"I was born in a place called Lower Hutt in New Zealand."
When did you start hairdressing and did you always want to be a hairdresser?
"I didn't always want to be a hairdresser. I was a late starter really. I didn't start my training until I was in my early 20's. When I left school, music and art were my passions and I was working as a graphic artist when by chance I passed a hairdressing salon in my home town, New Plymouth, New Zealand. I called in to see if they did hairdressing courses. Hairdressing was something I had always been interested in. Needless to say I started an 8,000 hour apprenticeship, loved it, and ended up staying for 8 years. I entered every hairdressing competition going in my area and achieved what I wanted. At the time most of my female clients had long hair and wanted to keep it that way. I was never happy just trimming and blow drying and used to dress the hair "up" whenever I got the chance. This was something I found I could really excel in and it wasn't long before I was getting all the wedding appointments, brides, bridesmaids and all the party-looks work."
Who did you train with?
"I trained with an amazing lady called Lyndsay Loveridge in New Plymouth, New Zealand."
Who is the biggest inspiration in your life?
"Even after all these years I can truly say that Lyndsay Loveridge is my mentor and the biggest inspiration. One of the things I love to do when I am back in NZ is to spend as much time as possible with her. We talk about ideas and the direction that my life is taking; she knows me very well so this means she has a great perspective and makes a good sounding board, and we all need one of those. During my training years it was Lyndsay who opened the windows for me and showed me what life had to offer."
When and why did you decide to move to England and was it your plan to specialize in the dressing of long hair?
"My plan wasn't to specialize in the dressing of long hair. It was to gain more experience in London. I worked at the same salon in New Zealand for 7 years before eventually setting off to London. The land of opportunity is never normally your own, it's usually somewhere else that you spread your wings. When I arrived in London in 1987 I managed to get a job as a stylist at a well known salon before being offered a position as Artistic Director for a large salon group. It was there that I realized that the dressing of long hair was not something hairdressers did so much. Yet there were plenty of clients asking for this service either for weddings or parties. I started to teach long hairdressing as part of the syllabus. The product company Wella saw me perform long hair classes on a few occasions and they asked me to do some seminars for them. It all started there really."
Can you tell us about getting to the top, and how do you stay there?
"Hard hard work in getting my name known. It's taken a lot of time. An element of being in the right place at the right time does have a bit to do with it but it didn't happen over night. A few years after arriving in England I was lucky enough to meet my business partner Sue Callaghan. She was the Marketing Manager for the hairdressing group I joined back in 1990. It was around the time that I had decided that I wanted to build up my name and I asked her to go into business with me to help me achieve my goals. That was a defining point in my career and probably the best move I ever made. Sue and I have been in business ever since. With regards to staying at the top I think it's all about re-inventing yourself and making sure that my work and shows are fresh each year. There are some fantastic new hairdressers following in my footsteps and I do think it's a lot harder now than ever to be different."
Where do you get your inspiration?
"I am constantly asked how I am able to create more and more unique styles each year. The answer that I find makes the most sense, is that the more that you share your ideas with other people the more room there is for creativity. It is almost as if there is a finite amount of creativity that you can keep in your brain at any one time and only by sharing these ideas can you move on and release space for new inspiration. I get my inspiration from a variety of different sources. I am lucky enough to have travelled the world and I continue to do so with my work so inspiration can come from anything from a street in Hong Kong or a sunset in Egypt. I also love movies and sometimes I can simply pick up an idea from the streets of London where I live."
I'm a hairdresser and I am interested in specialising in long hair. Can you offer me any advice?
"I think you have to learn hairdressing in the conventional way. You need to know your craft from all angles. Learning to cut and apply colour are all important parts to becoming a professional hairdresser and I think you need to earn respect in all aspects and regions of hairdressing before you decide to specialise in dressing long hair. Attend as many courses as you can and practice whenever you can. I think one of the difficulties in learning long hair dressing is being placed in a salon where long hairdressing isn't offered as a service. There are opportunities now for hairdressers who want to learn more about dressing hair which were not there when I was training. You just have to find them. I wish someone like me had been around when I was learning."
Your shows are educational but also very entertaining. How important is the entertainment part?
"Very important. I love performing and I try to combine education and entertainment. I do try to be different and a little bit original in what I do. I have a short concentration span so I suppose I expect other hairdressers to be like me. You can only take in so much information so this is when I take the presentation a little up beat and maybe do something a little different on stage just to keep the audience's attention. Also I want to make the learning experience fun because it is fun."
What makes a good hair picture?
"Good communication with the photographer. The model. Getting the story right. Good lighting will show off the definition in the hair."
You have been working with Wella since 1987, that's a long time to be associated with one product company don't you think?
"I am very happy working with Wella. As well as believing in their products, they are such a professional company to be associated with and they manage their events so well. I believe if the record's not broken why change it."
Why do you not have a salon of your own?
"Never say never; but at this point of my life I would still say no to a salon. Over the years I have had some incredible opportunities to open a Patrick Cameron salon in central London, but each time I have said no. I chose to run a training school instead. I think of myself as a hairdressers hairdresser. I love training, doing shows, seminars, photoshoots and tv work. It has taken me a long time to get a quality of life I am happy with. I don't think I would be able to commit enough time to running a salon as well. I like what I do and feel my reward is in helping fellow professionals. This is what I do best."
Tell me about your training school in London?
"I opened my training school in 1997. It is based at the Wella London studio. I offer 2 day intensive courses for no more than 15 students at a time. Hairdressers from the UK and around the world attend these courses and it gives them the opportunity of working on a one to one basis with me. We cover traditional styles through to bridal and more modern looks - very commercial. It's a fun and informal atmosphere and after the 2 days my students are able to come to grips with at least 8 styles."
If dressing long hair is something my readers would like to specialize in what will be their biggest difficulty today?
"I think you have to learn hairdressing in the conventional way. You need to know your craft from all angles. Learning to cut and apply colour are all important parts to becoming a professional hairdresser and I think you need to earn respect in all aspects and regions of hairdressing before you decide to specialize in dressing long hair. Attend as many courses as you can and practice whenever you can. I think one of the difficulties in learning long hair dressing is being placed in a salon where long hairdressing isn't offered as a service. There are opportunities now for hairdressers who want to learn more about dressing hair which were not there when I was training. You just have to find them. I wish someone like me had been around when I was learning."
Why do you think hairdressers should learn your skills and buy your books?
"Experience has shown me that if you approach long hairdressing simply and methodically, step-by-step, just the same way that you learned how to cut hair, then the results will speak for themselves. My books are a way of giving further confidence through knowledge and training and hopefully giving my readers some new ideas that will serve them well. The books and my videos are just guidelines for the hairdresser to follow. Once they have mastered the basic techniques they can create their own style and put their own stamp of creativity and originality on their work."
Before we go some words of wisdom for the hairdressers who might like to follow your footsteps.
"I think my advice to anyone wanting to do something like me would be to find something they are good at i.e. colouring, cutting or even long hair and excel in that particular aspect. Don't just be good at it - be great at it. If you don't believe in yourself no one else will. Good training is the key to the success of our industry in the future. Learn from your seniors and keep abreast of new fashion trends and techniques and develop your own identity. Remember fashion is a circle - it goes round and round. I'll be watching out for you."