Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Getting Ahead in the Art of Hair Fashion

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Getting Ahead in the Art of Hair Fashion

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jane Hall

In a sparsely furnished attic room, two girls are standing as still as statues. Positioned back-to-back and dressed from head-to-toe in virgin white outfits, their appearance is being critically analysed by two men and three women.

Speaking in low voices, the onlookers are discussing how best to present the tableau in front of them.

One of the women, a clear plastic box of pins clutched in her right hand, suddenly breaks free from the group and slowly circles the girl wearing a floor length bridal-style gown. Contemplatively running a finger across her lips, she momentarily tips her head to one side before stepping forward and, pins to hand, making a few minor adjustments to the left shoulder strap of her subject's dress.

Satisfied, she moves back and begins teasing the stiff cotton material over the white cord belt cinching in the wearer's waist.

The man closest to her, a bright red pirate's bandana tied around his head and camera in hand, suggests moving the belt slightly to the right, so the elaborate knot holding it together stands proud from its white background.

His colleague, a can of hairspray clutched under his arm, nods his head in approval. The two other women, one gripping a blusher brush and eyeshadow pallet, the other her own can of hairspray, give appreciate smiles.

While this is going on the other girl moves away and, hands on hips, stares out of the window at the unprepossessing view of concrete walkways, car parks and 1970s municipal buildings, made all the more grim by a leaden, rain-filled sky.

It is in this less than glamorous setting that Neville Ramsay is co-ordinating the photo-shoot he hopes will see him crowned the best of the best at the prestigious British Hairdressing Awards.

It is the first time that Neville, of Sunderland-based Ramsay & Johnson Hair and Beauty, has entered the competition. Regarded as the 'Oscars' of the hairdressing world, he is one of six from an area stretching from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Hull, competing for the right to call themselves the North-Eastern Hairdresser of the Year.

Unlike other such events where entrants have to show off their skills live in front of a panel of judges, success or failure in the British Hairdressing Awards is based on who produces the best set of photographs.

Neville has already had to submit four images to reach the shortlisting stage. Now he has to produce a second set carrying on the theme of the original. Based on these, a winner will be announced at the awards night at Grosvenor House Hotel in London on November 27.

Neville is quietly confident. A past winner of the prestigious L'Oreal Colour Trophy ( his salon again picked up the title courtesy of senior artistic director Angela Rain and colleague Sarah Sumner earlier this year ( he believes he has put together an award winning team. …

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