What first interested you about your profession?
I was 20 when my uncle Romano, owner of Zullo & Holland, took me down to my first ever hairdressing show. It was a life-changing event. Even though I’d been brought up in a hairdressing family, I’d never before understood the creative energy that pulsates throughout our industry. I was hooked.
What where your early years in the industry like?
From the very first I started thinking of the possibilities my new career offered. I loved salon work but I wanted more. I wanted to be the best, to develop an outstanding salon full of creativity and talent. I wanted to create a great team and an environment where clients enjoyed the best service possible. I looked to use every experience as a learning opportunity. The more I worked towards that goal, the more successful I was within the industry. From there my dream of opening my own academy grew and in 2013 I opened the Angelo Vallillo Hair Academy.
Where do your style ideas come from?
I try to push myself constantly, to bring something new to what I do. I try to use new models – I get fed up seeing collections using the same girls and the same hair. If I can find models who share my vision, I take inspiration from them and the way they look.
I have the greatest admiration for all the guys who’ve worked hard to get to the top of their game. Akin Konizi, Bruce Masefield and the guys at Sebastian – Michael Polsinelli and Shay Dempsey deserve a special mention, especially Akin – he has been so supportive of me. Then there’s working with the up-and-coming guys. Seeing their hunger is really inspiring.
Short hair will be huge in 2016, with lots of cropped cuts and huge texture. People are becoming a lot more confident and there’s a great move towards self-expression, with colour the brighter the better.
I’d like to see more shapes, created through cutting rather than just dressing.
Every week we also get images together from Vogue, Elle and all the other leading consumer magazines, go through them and pick out the styles we like, so we can offer clients ideas about what is in and what would look great for them. We do this in all areas – colour, fringes, shoulderlength hair, short hair. We post images every week on Facebook and Instagram and do regular mail-outs. The result has been amazing; clients have been coming in with images on their phones showing the looks we have recommended.
What do you see as some of the main differences between the work of European stylists and those of your country?
What turns you on about this profession?
No two days are ever the same. You can be working in the salon one day and performing in front of a packed audience in some exotic location the next.
Understand your goals and work your hardest to achieve them. And when you do achieve them, set yourself some new ones. If you are not moving forward you will stagnate.
Winning Style Genius at Redken Tribe back in 2007 was a special moment. The minute they called out my name as the winner I knew I was on my way. More significant, though, was winning Gold at Wella’s UK TrendVision and going on to Berlin to represent Britain. It was the award that put me on the map. I went from being a salon stylist to being a national stylist. Doors open when you start winning serious awards, especially British Hairdresser of the Year awards, of which I’ve won two. Then there was my appointment as the first ever UK hairdresser to be invited to join the Sebastian International Art Team.
Treat every single one as if they are the only one – as if your livelihood depended on them. Because it does.
Creatively, I still want that third British Hairdresser of the Year Eastern title, which would put me in the Hall of Fame. A nomination for the overall British would then be amazing. In terms of business I want to put the Angelo Vallillo Hair Academy on the international map, sharing what I’ve learned with hairdressers from around the world.
Strong, independent, beautiful.
One has a job, the other a vocation.
I think it comes down largely to self-belief, knowing within yourself that with hard work and dedication to your craft you can achieve whatever you want in this world. And a determination to never stop learning.
My friends. I’m lucky to be surrounded by wonderful, creative people: my best mates are successful DJs. Other close friends are in fashion or actors. We’re all striving to be the best we can. It’s such a fertile atmosphere.
As a member of the Sebastian International Art Team I travel constantly, educating around the world. I have a global approach and that feeds my creativity.
When I travel, I’m told by everyone that they all look to the UK for inspiration and new techniques. My hair heros have all been, and probably still are, British.
That’s a tricky one. Winning TrendVision was amazing because it was the first time I’d been in that position. Winning Eastern Hairdresser of the Year for the first time was also incredible. But really there’s no contest – my proudest moment came in October 2013 when I opened the Angelo Vallillo Hair Academy.
I am focused currently on creating anti head shapes, but which are still completely beautiful.
We have a great sense of togetherness, which makes our clients feel comfortable and at ease. I try to actively lead, but without all the ego that can ruin a good team. And it seems to work. My team are amazing. They are supertalented and, even better, eager to learn.
I think this is less true now than it used to be, as more people come to recognise the importance of good hair. Hair on the catwalks is a statement now, not an afterthought, but a part of the complete look.
Really it’s the overall look that’s important, so cut and colour are equally important. We offer our clients the best of everything, and most of them will have cut and colour and leave with a product.
Most come every six weeks or so, but more frequently if they have a special occasion coming up or it’s party season.
All my clients are individuals and each is interesting in her own way. It’s one of the things I like most about hairdressing.
If a woman’s hair is just right, and she knows it, she will feel confident whatever she wears. Investing in a great haircut and colour is also better than shelling out on an expensive coat because you don’t ever take it off.
Work hard and dedicate all your time to becoming the best you can be. It won’t happen overnight so don’t get disillusioned. Just keep going.