Mark Williamson is the genius behind most of the editorial and fashion trends you see across the world. He has countless covers, features, and images that dazzle our eyes and transform our minds to a place the hair mimics. He gets much more than a pretty picture across, he portrays emotion and elicits feelings in his work. Learn how Mark got his start, who his inspirations were, and how he continues to grow and learn!
Can you tell us a little more about you and your styling background?
Well, I actually fell into hairdressing by accident; my childhood goal was to go to art school as drawing and painting was always my thing. I left home at a very young age, as I was a bit of a headstrong teen :), and I needed to get a job. There was an apprentice job available at a salon near where I was staying so I started sweeping the floors and washing hair, and that's when I discovered the amount of creative opportunity available within hair, that's where it all started. I’m a freehand kinda guy, in fact I work very freehand, I view hair as a piece of clay or fabric that I can mold into any shape or form whilst overcoming problems of structure and foundation. Each head is different and needs a different approach so a certain amount technical strength needs to be balanced with texture and movement to create freedom for each individual. The biggest defining moment in my career was actually meeting a guy called Danny Santiago, who is the most talented fashion stylist I've ever come across, he pushed for me to be join one of his shoots for Italian Vogue, which was one of my biggest lifelong ambitions that I'd only ever dreamed of and never imagined would happen. So, my defining moment was a guy called Danny Santiago hah.
Can you give us a bit of insight into what the typical creative process behind creating an editorial?
When we decide we are shooting, whether it be fashion or beauty, the key component is preparation and communication. I will sit down with the photographer and clothing stylist and we will discuss ideas based on season, our goal, theme, inspirations, and model. Then we will go away and compile mood boards of general ideas; with hair textures and make up, and then we continue our conversations until every component fits together.
Do you have any rituals to ensure a successful shoot?
Preparation and research is a must for every shoot.
Where do you find your inspirations?
I find my inspirations from everything in life; nature, the sky, the city, the ocean, my feelings and the general trials and tribulations that we face on a daily basis just living life. I’m very observant and I would say a bit of a voyeur, I like to analyze the emotion that something stirs in me and then try and express that in a feeling or texture.
What is the one product/tool that you can’t live without?
I would have to say Texture Stay by Prive, this product is amazing and I don’t go anywhere without this !!! Oh, and my Mason Pearson Brush, which I've had for almost 10 years.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
It would definitely have to be to be able to clone myself, as sometimes it could be beneficial to be in 3 places at once.
Who were your mentors along the way?
I would say, my biggest mentors are two hairdressers called Steve Rowbottom and Mark Westerman, who have a very successful company in the north of England called Westrow, and for whom I was head of education. They challenged me to become better than I was, and invested in my education.
What are your virtues? Vices?
My virtues I would say are that I'm reliable, punctual, hardworking, honest and very direct. My vices I would say are that I'm sometimes too direct, I can be a little self critical, oh and cookies.
What hair trends can we look forward to this Fall?
This fall we are going to see a revival of curls but not of the romantic kind. They're going to be textured, almost destroyed and disheveled, used in conjunction with individual freehand personalized face framing shapes and lots of colour; Ash Browns, burnt chocolates, espresso with cool amber and apricot undertones, while blondes will be subtle and muted and almost arctic in tone.