Interview: London’s Finest Hair Stylist is Mark Hampton.
Mark Hampton is one of the most hard working and energetic individuals to come out of London’s explosive hair scene. He has made his stamp in the hair styling industry whilst traveling the world and working alongside the likes of Guido Palau, whilst maintaining his position as Editorial Art Director at Radio London Hair Salon & Gallery.
You can’t help but peak over at the elegantly decorated red & black brick shop-front inlayed with long french windows in hope of catching a celebrity having a classy snip or up-do! We have followed his work through Vogue, Dazed and Confused, Elle and Q as well as his well-known styling for many artists and kick-ass bands such as Kings of Leon, Calvin Harris, The Klaxons and La Roux. Mark has traveled to all of the major fashion capitals of the world styling shows for the likes of Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein, as a young, full of life, is there any stopping this guy?! We hope not.
Mark Hampton is truly a force to be reckoned with in the hair styling industries…
Jonathan: So Mark, When do did you become a hairdresser?
Mark: I’ve been a hairdresser now since I was 17, I started at Sassoons. It takes 3-4 years to learn, so i was qualified just before I turned 21. I moved to London pretty much a week after! I would have loved to stay with Vidal Sassoon, but I needed to move to London or New York to take it to the next level!
Jonathan: Where did you go from Vidal Sassoon?
Mark: Taylor Taylor was the only other salon I worked at after Vidal Sassoon. I always liked the idea of not moving around too much, you know, from salon to salon.Taylor Taylor gave me the opportunity to work on my own stuff, my own editorial and music clients.
Jonathan: I understand you have worked with Guido Palau, who is considered one of the worlds most innovative hair stylists. How did this come about?
Mark: I had the chance to work with Guido pretty soon after to moving to London. Working with Guido on shows is pretty much as big as it gets…The next step is your own show team doing your own thing! I’ve worked on the biggest shows all over the world with Guido. Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Gaultier, Roberto Cavalli, Versace…The list goes on! We do about 35 shows a season close to 100 a year, and i been on this team for 4 years now…
Jonathan: How did all this fit in with your time & your day job?
Mark: Leaving the salon for a month at a time every 6 months or so wasn’t really ideal when you have a strong clientele list. But I think that they knew that it would be good for both of us in the long run. Without working for someone like Guido on high profile shows your not really gonna get far fast. Its all about experience. Most shoots i do, the stylist or photographer has an idea about the hair, how it fits in with the story – mostly referenced from the shows. So your already ahead of the game. I was there, I worked on that show – it gives it that authenticity! During this time I have started to build up a list of publications, and credits from magazines that I have worked for. This is the kind of stuff that takes you further in your career.
Jonathan: What do you have coming up – anything big and exiting?
Mark: Yes! I have Calvin Harris’s video in LA next week, The new Professor Green album cover to shoot, a Prada show in Hong Kong, and the next Wallpaper cover along with 12 page story at the end of July…
Jonathan: With Men’s Fashion week coming up you must be very busy?
Mark: Sure, we have Mens week fashion week coming up in Paris and Milan so very busy, there are 9 shows to do, Alexander McQueen and Jil Sander being the highlights!
Jonathan: What are the benefits for getting in publications, rather than doing shows?
Mark: When people read it, they might even check the credits to see who did the hair or the makeup and it might even stick in their mind or make them have a look at my site. Getting credited in publications is definitely the way to get recognized and there’s no doubt that it produces more jobs. From these publications you can then go to an agency and show them that you can produce that caliber of work, and hopefully get represented by a nice big agency!
Jonathan: What’s the last shoot you worked on?
Mark: I have been doing a lot of stuff for Stella, the Guardian supplements and main fashion for Grazia which is all quite well established work. To be able to get these jobs without an agency I feel is a credit my own hard work, hard work pays off!
Jonathan: You have a history with working on music videos if I am correct?
Mark: Yeah, the music scene is pretty much what I was doing at the same time as trying to build my fashion portfolio. Im not the type of guy to sit around and wait for things to fall into my lap! I met Kinga Burza, a huge producer and we started with a Kate Nash music video. We then did her second one – ‘Foundations’, the first number one single i worked on! It took off from there and we hammered out about others 15 in two years…The Mystery Jets, Calvin Harris, Ladyhawke, La Roux, The Teenagers, Noah and the Whale..all pretty big bands in the UK!
Jonathan: Tell me about your relationship with Kings of Leon!
Mark: I always tried to look after the bands hair needs outside of videos, and a friend from NME set me up with the Kings of Leon. We hit it off pretty well, and have been their hairdresser when they are in London ever since!
Jonathan: What can we expect from you in the future? What are your ambitions?
Mark: The future for me is hooking up with a big agent someone like Julian Watson or the Streeters, building my own show team and trying to go to Copenhagen in August. Also, working close with some designers and building up my portfolio with covers and big feature stories in high end publications.. Ideally for Vogue mainly!!!!