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 leading name in long hair. Since arriving in the UK from New Zealand in 1987, Patrick has worked in association with global brand, Wella. Patrick is also the consummate professional, inspiring hairdressers with his unique blend of education and fantastic ability to make even the most complex hairstyle look easy. Audiences at his stage performances are always enthralled by the theatrical and fun element Patrick injects into his shows.
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.
Education is paramount to any hairdresser’s growth and development. Patrick’s passion is to increase awareness in long hair dressing, and dispel the myth that it’s complicated. Inspiring hairdressers around the world to achieve success they never thought possible.
Patrick’s Online Digital education was born and honed during lockdown. From March 2020 when Covid took hold Patrick went live, globally, to thousands on Facebook and Instagram every Monday night, and his reach has continued to grow and grow to this day. His platform Access Long Hair is the industry’s leading education destination allowing hairdressers to monetise their skills.
Patrick is now hailed as the foremost content creator in dressing long hair.
His philosophy is to connect the industry, using the power of creativity to help focus and give confidence in a positive way, during one of the hardest times our industry has ever seen.
Patrick has been awarded a prestigious MBE from Her Majesty the Queen for his contribution to British Hairdressing, particularly during Covid 19.
“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 worked in a Music shop aged 17 before working as a display artist aged 18 when by chance aged 21 I passed a hairdressing salon in my hometown, New Plymouth, New Zealand. I called in to see if they did hairdressing courses. Hairdressing was something I had little interest in and wanted to help backstage for a local theatre group. Needless to say, I started an 8,000-hour (3 years) apprenticeship, fell completely head over heels in love with all things Hairdressing and ended up staying at the salon for 7 years. I entered every hairdressing competition going in my area and NZ. 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 I 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 plus all the party looks to work on.”
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 specialise in the dressing of long hair?
“My plan wasn’t to specialise in the dressing of long hair. It was to gain more hairdressing experience in London. I worked at the same salon in New Zealand for 7 years before eventually setting off to London.
I believe often 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 realised 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 work in getting my name known without social media or the internet. It’s taken a lot of time to build my brand. 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 overnight. 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 were in business for 28 years. 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.
Surrounding yourself with the best people who support you is also a great recipe for success.”
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.
Looking at social media, films and what’s going on in fashion gives me loads of inspiration to draw on. I find working on new ideas on my mannequin head really helps bring my work to life.”
I’m a hairdresser and I am interested in specialising in long hair. Can you offer me any advice?
“It’s really important to make sure everyone knows that dressing long hair is something you want to specialise in and start making people aware it is a service you offer … trust me the word will get out soon enough once you start creating beautiful up-do’s. Push your concepts out there on social media as well.
I have a massive online step-by-step educational collection “Access Long Hair” check it out for loads of great inspiration.”
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 always have a section in my show where I challenge myself to create a beautiful hairstyle to a beautiful piece of music in under 3 or 4 minutes people love it and the magic of the craft and music really captures their attention. Also, I want to make the learning experience fun because it is fun.”
What makes a good hair picture?
“We create all our own photographic work so I’m always looking to tell a story and the collection needs to be coherent and look like each style belongs to the collection you are creating.
I would always suggest you create a digital storyboard to help you focus so you don’t lose track of what you want to create.
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?
“At this point in my life, I would 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 think of myself as a hairdresser’s hairdresser. I love training, doing shows, seminars, photoshoots and tv work. It has taken me a long time to get a fantastic work-life balance I am happy with. I wouldn’t be able to commit enough time to run a salon and I love what I do and feel my reward is in helping fellow Hairdressers succeed and create beautiful work they are proud of.”
If dressing long hair is something my readers would like to specialise in what will be their biggest difficulty today?
“Once you have the skill of dressing long hair, the biggest difficulty is self-confidence, believing you can do it in the salon. Clients today are much more demanding, they watch social media and know what they want or indeed what suits them so you need confidence to come up with the goods.”
Why do you think hairdressers should learn your skills and sign up to your “Access Long Hair” learning platform?
“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 online learning is a way of giving further confidence through knowledge and training and hopefully giving my viewers some new ideas that will serve them well.
My step-by-step videos are just guidelines for the hairdresser to follow. Once they have mastered the basic techniques they in turn can create their own style and put their own stamp of creativity and originality on their own work.”
Think Netflix for dressing long hair.
The platform where Patrick shares his vast content of over 300 step-by-step videos.