British Hairdresser of the Year Nominee: Hooker & Young

Next up in my British Hairdressing Awards takeover is an unusual nominee – a duo! In their own words, Hooker & Young ‘work as one’, so it’s understandable why they’ve entered as a single entity. This duo originate in the North East of England, but plan to take over the world. Here they answer a few of my questions ahead of the big reveal next week.

Please tell me a little about yourselves…
We’re Gary Hooker and Michael Young and we’re based in the North East of England. We have four boutique townhouse salons and have been hairdressing since, well, lets just say a long time! We met 21 years ago on a night out, and soon realised we were both hairdressers working for the same brand. We decided there and then that one day we’d have a salon together.

How many times have you been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year?
This is our fifth nomination and each year we get more nervous. Being nominated has always been a dream of ours and the first year we got the call to say we had made it was incredible. You probably heard our reaction in London. We’re delighted to be nominated every time, it is such a huge privilege but now we want to win it!

What would it mean to you to win the accolade?
Oh my goodness, we can’t even begin to put into words what this would mean to us it is that huge. Winning it together would be our biggest professional and personal achievement. To be British Hairdresser of the Year would be incredible!

What do you love most about hairdressing?
It is hard to pin point one thing. As an industry it never stops moving and is always evolving, there is always some new to learn but it is the people that make is so special.  We’ve made some really great friends over the years and still love meeting and making new ones. Hairdressing is a very open-minded industry. Everyone wants to push boundaries and discover something new, whether it be a product, colour application or styling technique. Also, hairdressing is a universal language so it allows you to travel extensively. This helps to look at things with a fresh point of view which aids creativity. 

What are your aspirations for the next 5-10 years?
We have build up a strong brand in the North East, and hope to continue strengthening this with the introduction of new salons and a Hooker & Young product line. We have a really great team, so if we are lucky enough to win British Hairdresser of the Year, we will then put all our energy into helping them achieve their dreams too.

What are your favourite products to use and why?
We both agree that the Kérastase Elixir Ultime is our current favourite. In the salon or on shoots, this really transforms the finish of hair. It is definitely a product we would not be without!

What are your latest collections inspired by and how do you develop them creatively?
We initially took inspiration from fashion houses such as Givenchy and Prada. Their campaigns had a real confidence to them which we wanted to exude in our British collection. Creating an eclectic mix of everything we love about hair, we hope have produced a signature collection inspired by the darker side of beauty, where females are empowered and confident but still very beautiful.

Why are you different from other hairdressers?
That is a difficult one!  From a technical point of view we are not that different – we can all cut a perfect bob but I suppose it is the way you interpret something which makes you individual. There are two of us, but we work as one. Instinctively we both know the end result we want to achieve when working on a shoot. We’re classically trained hairdressers and our signature style is all about the finish, I think people can recognise a Hooker & Young image when they see it – hopefully a winning Hooker & Young image!


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