We never shy away from speaking to some of the global hairdressing industry’s most renowned figures, and we had the chance to talk to the illustrious Cos Sakkas, TONI&GUY Global Creative Director and the current British Hairdresser of the Year title-holder from the British Hairdressing Awards. Cos also ended 2022 by winning Fellowship Hairdresser of the Year, making him the first hairdresser to hold all three titles at the same time, and capping off a significant few months.
“2022 was an unbelievable year for me, and it still hasn’t really sunk in that I have been awarded the biggest accolades in the industry. I am totally humbled and honoured, and hope I can use my year as an ambassador for the industry and for hairdressers not just in the UK, but around the world.”
As a clear leader and pioneer in international hair, Cos is particularly interested in leading the community in universal issues of recruitment and retainment of the next generation.
“Hairdressing, like other industries, have had a recruitment issue for a number of years and the pandemic has exacerbated this,” he shared. “Attitudes and behaviours have changed and as an industry we have been slow to keep up with these changes.”
“Apprenticeships are incredibly important; I was an apprentice once and, without that, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Hairdressing is an amazing career with so many opportunities and I find it unbelievable that some people are saying it’s a shrinking industry. Why does no one want to be a hairdresser anymore, with all the amazing things they can do, the different paths they can take? It’s easy to blame young people’s changing habits but we need to look closer to home. We all started out as an assistant, and we need to remember how valuable it was when someone took time out for us. Now it’s our responsibility – salon based stylists and freelancers – to do this for the next generation.”
Cos is using his vast experience – as the leader of the TONI&GUY international artistic team he regularly educates globally, travelling and accessing hairdressers and TONI&GUY partners through the Digital Academy to reach people in about 40 countries – to drive what hairdressers can do to aid this issue.
“As an industry we have the opportunities, but we don’t have people knocking down our doors, so why is this? Obviously, what we are offering isn’t good enough, isn’t enticing enough,” he said. “So we have to look deeper – is it the length of time it takes for them to be qualified? Is it the low wages? Is it the working hours? I don’t have the answers, but we do need to get our heads together to discover what is turning young people off. I hope I can get the conversation started. They don’t care how hard we’ve worked, how we’ve struggled. Life is hard enough for young people, and we have to make hairdressing a career that they want to come into because they know they will be qualified as quickly as their mates elsewhere, they will be earning good money and have a career they can be proud of.”
“However, it’s all doom and gloom, let’s get it into perspective. We are a healthy, vibrant and affluent industry, but we need to adapt to the new generation. Whether we agree with them or not, it’s changing and we need to see it through their eyes. We know how amazing this industry is, we just need to make sure everyone else does!”
For more information visit www.toniandguy.com.au
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