Robert Eaton talks to Stephanie Smith about his Hairdresser of the Year nomination, the family business and what’s happening in hair.
As a nominee for British Hairdresser of the Year, Robert Eaton joins a select band of super-stylists. The creative director at Russell Eaton salons in Leeds and Barnsley joins a starry line-up of the country’s leading hairdressers - and if he wins, he will be one of only three Yorkshire champions (the two previous winners being Andrew Barton and Mark Hill).
Robert’s career started in 1996 when he joined his father, Russell Eaton, in the family’s Barnsley salon as an apprentice. He opened the salon in Leeds in 2012 and works alongside his award-winning sister, Isobel Eaton.
Now Robert must now create a hair collection that showcases his technical expertise, creative flair and overall artistic vision. These images will be judged in September with the winner being announced at the awards ceremony at Grosvenor House Hotel, London, in November.
“It’s something that any hairdresser dreams of being nominated for,” he says. “But it’s been quite a few years of building up to getting to this stage. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve had anyone from Yorkshire who has been nominated or won.”
Industry experts identify and select nominees.. “We all bump into each other and work on many of the event together so we know each other professionally and are good friends as well.”
The planning and preparation will take a huge amount of hard work but it will, says Rob, be really exciting “It’s very much about predicting trends and what’s going to be the next big thing within hair and hair colour. We do a show on the evening as well, which brings the collection to life.
“I’m delighted just to be nominated, given all the hairdressers I’m up against.”
And his nomination is a team effort, he says. “I used to work on Saturday in Dad’s salon since the age of 11, so I’ve always grown up around hairdressing and watched Dad.
“Dad was so happy when he found out. Because we work really closely together as part of the family business, he’s really nurtured and helped me along my journey, so it’s like an achievement for the whole family as well as one for me.”
Being fashion forward and individual is key to Rob’s ethos. “In recent years, there’s been a lot of safe hairdressing - a lot of long hair and samey kind of looks and what’s nice at the moment is that we are moving into an era where it’s more about bespoke and individual hair shapes and colours. We are seeing a lot of people cutting their hair a little bit shorter, going for long bobs or something a bit stronger and bolder so it’s nice to see a mixture of shapes not just the balayage bouncy blow-dry.
“For me, whenever I work with any client, it’s all about trying to create something as bespoke and individual as possible. It’s not about following a celebrity-based trend any more, those days have gone. It’s much more about using Instagram as a source of inspiration.
“From a colour perspective, we are layering different colours so you create a multi-dimensional shades so you might have a brunette with layers of gold and pink over the top of it. Blondes tend to be much more multi-tonal now as well. It’s not just about the traditional services and techniques like half a head of highlights, it’s very much about creating something that is designed to bring out the best in people’s features.”
* Rusell Eaton is at www.russelleatonhair.com, in Leeds on 0113 2469162 and Barnsley on 01226 244809