AVANT GARDE AVENGER
American born Brandon Kirk Messinger is enjoying some serious scissor success. The 31 year old ignited his hairdressing vocation by training with some of the top hair talents in London. His experience and dedication quickly allowed him to quickly hone his skills and perfect his craft to critical industrial acclaim.
Since then, Brandon has gone on to covet a host of awards and industrial recognitions such as the 2014 PRO Hair Magazine barber of the year and Hairdressers Journal barber of the year awards within twelve months. We took some time out to chat to Brandon about life in his newly adopted East Yorkshire and why his current role with Rick Roberts Beverley salon is inspiring him like never before.
How did you start off in Hairdressing?
In my early years, I initially started off working with John Frieda in his London salon before moving onto join Nikki Clarke in his Mayfair base. To be fair, I have worked in a lot of salons across London to get a broad range of experience, although with some of the larger franchises you don´t get much exposure to the creative side as it´s mostly spent cleaning up. I count myself very lucky as I have trained in some of London´s most prestigious salons. I´m so passionate about my craft and I have always felt that I can achieve the right things in the right salon with the right guidance. If I don’t have the opportunities then I go, but if I do – you have my loyalty.
What’s your speciality within the hairdressing field?
In short, it´s precision haircuts and barbering. On the more editorial side, I am recognised for my work in the more refined ´hair-up´s´ and Avant Garde aesthetics; It´s for these skills that I want to be recognised.
Tell me about your typical day, do you spend it in salons or on photoshoots?
If it´s between competitions, runways or the salon then I prefer to be much more salon based. This is where I like to showcase my skills in precision cutting and the development of my trademark short, geometric cuts (which, since I have moved up North, have become much more popular thanks to my clients openness to creativity).
In order to showcase your skills on professional platforms, you must attend a lot of industry events?
Absolutely, I have showcased for the higher end brands such as HOB, Aveda, L’Oréal and Wella in the past few years. I recently appeared at the Salon International event with Rick Roberts where I performed live on stage. With regards to other events such as fashion weeks, I do get requests to attend but these normally end up with stylists re-working a designers vision of the pony tail which isn´t exactly my niche as my craft is much more intricate and expressive. I don´t draw very much inspiration from the fashion industry to be honest.
Have you entered into any competitions recently?
Literally two weeks ago, I won the Style Supreme competition and a vote based social media competition by Sam Villa hair which gave me my Bang Style ´15 minutes of fame´ on-line. These competitions mean a lot to me as people take the time to vote for me and it gets my name out there into a new potential client base. I do still prefer the more industrial competitions however as they really push my skills and reactions.
You have worked with a lot of salons but which hairdresser do you admire the most?
It has to be Rick Roberts; he inspires me a lot because he is an amazing friend and mentor. Unlike previous experiences with management, he doesn’t dismiss me and he is keen to teach me and transfer his passion and creativity on a one-to-one basis. This is something I can really relate to and respect both personally and professionally.
Give me some trade tips, what´s your favourite product to use and why?
I love dry shampoo´s because they make it so easy to create messy and undone looks as well as introducing some real texture and interest into the hair. I am also a big fan of mousse, I use it pretty much all my clients because when you blow dry it through; it promotes great volume and root lift.
What’s your opinion on current hair trends; from Mermaid colours to Hipster-cuts?
Well, Hipster cuts and beards are no longer an emerging trend anymore. I think that within this movement you will start to see some more classic, contemporary takes on gents haircuts. With regards to female trends such as Mermaid hair – long hair is great, natural healthy long hair. I hate extensions and everything about them, especially working with them.
¨ Quite simply, you can´t beat a good haircut. Short hair is getting more popular and less one-dimensional. A skilled hairdresser can use techniques such as disconnection and texture to sow together a quality, seamless haircut which pays homage to the trend as well as flattering the client.¨ – Brandon Kirk Messinger
Am I correct in saying that there are a lot of style variations across Europe just now?
Yes, for the most part European hair fashion trends are mainly spread across Paris and Italy, but for me the home of hair ingenuity is undoubtedly the UK.
Which celebrities do you consider to have the best and worst hair?
I am not a fan of celebrity culture at all, I don´t follow it and it doesn´t interest me. I do wonder however what Donald Trump is thinking with his candyfloss comb-over.
What´s the most expensive product or equipment you ever bought?
Hands down, they have to be my scissors; they cost £1400 and are manufactured from sterling silver Japanese miracle steel. The techniques I specialise in blunt the scissors quickly, so I need dependable equipment that is hard, durable and can withstand demanding techniques.
Professionally, you have come so far in the past five years. What´s Brandon´s plans for the next five?
My main goals are to concentrate on growing the Rick Roberts brand where I can also develop my own techniques and Avant Garde looks. I would like to enter into more industry level competitions such as the Visionary Awards at the Alternative Hair Show and the Hairdressers Journal Barber of the Year awards. These events are UK based, but I would not be opposed to entering into European or International based heats in the future. My future goal is to open my own salon and with all the experience and mentoring I am achieving, I hope to achieve this one day.
And finally, a closing piece of hair and salon advice from a recognised professional?
Always keep your stylist appointments! Great hair is not going to happen with appointments once or twice a year. Hairdressing is a two way process of communication and understanding between the client and their hairdresser; with your wish and their experience, great hair can be a reality for everyone.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Hair Stylist: Brandon Kirk Messinger
Make Up Artist: Abi Beautement
Photography: Deborah Selwood