Thursday, October 20, 2011

[Un]Discovers: Damien Carney

Today we have Damien Carney as our special guest for the last feature of our hair styling month.  Damien is an undeniably well accomplished stylist from London.  He had been the lead stylist of many on-stage shows, fashion shows, editorials and tv shows including American Next Top Model.  Top celebrities and supermodels such as Ryan Gosling and Abbey Lee had turned to Damien for an image-defining hairstyle. Not only he is very passionate in hairstyling, Damien took another step further to mentor future hairstylists.  

Photo credit: Damien Carney
Hair Credit: Damien Carney

1. What brought you to hairstyling and why?

I was always fascinated, as a child, in going to the barbershop. As I grew up and matured, I went to what was called a  “unisex” salon, which exposed me to styling for men and women. I’m from a family of 8, and being the third youngest, I got to see all kinds of fashion, music and culture. My siblings were all into artistic kind of things. I liked the fact that hairdressing never appeared boring, everyone looked great as a result of it, and they were having a great time. Hair changes the physical side of how we look, as well as the emotional side in how it boosts our confidence.  

I find hair styling quite different than cutting or coloring hair. When you’re styling hair, you have a texture and length that you’re working with to produce a result. You’re usually working “with” the hair or “against” it in varying degrees. One has to have an understanding of what hair can do, what is possible and what is not. I tap into traditional techniques of decades gone by mixed with a fresh point of view.  I love what I do. Everyday is different. I get bored quickly, and I don’t like routine. So hairstyling fits me perfectly.

 Photo credit: Damien Carney & James Cant
Hair credit: Damien Carney

2 Knowing that you have been the lead hairstylist in many events, from fashion shoots to on-stage events, which of these kinds of events do you find more challenging? And why?

Fashion shows, shooting in a studio, hair trade shows; they all deal with hair as a production, but in different ways. There are different concepts, techniques; the final results are very different. I like them both. Fashion hair styling is complementing the wardrobe from head to toe. I may not like what the fashion is offering, however I must create a hairstyle that accents the flow or culture of the style. With fashion events and/or shows, it’s not always only about the hair. However, what is done with the hair plays an important part of the total look. To me, runway style is a total look from head to toe. It complements the wardrobe, make up, it all becomes one. I love the quick pace of fashion. Blink, and you’ll miss a decade. One has to be quick and competent in fashion shoots, as there is a lot to do. Sometimes it can get a bit frenzied – most of the time it’s super cool – but it all adds to the excitement. There is much preparation for even a 30-minute show.

On-stage events at a hair trade show are about inspiring the hairdresser, cutter, colorist, long hair designer, men’s hair stylist, whatever the attendee’s specialization. Presentation content is usually technique, concept, and trend driven. It’s about sharing what’s new and fresh, as well as refining traditional fundamental methods. In turn, the hairdressers get inspired to try ideas on their clients and push a little, as well as building confidence. I try to inspire stylists to keep their work and perspective fresh and stimulating.  On stage, it’s about exciting an audience with a concept, a visual and a technique. It’s creativity, instruction, inspiration and fun all rolled in to one effort.  Fashion shows and on-stage events couldn’t be more different from each other. I love them both! They stimulate me in many, many ways.

Photo credit: Damien Carney & James Cant
Hair credit: Damien Carney

3. Some hairstylists find more interest in hair color, some in textures, some in forms.  Which part of hairstyling do you find yourself most interested in?

I enjoy cutting and long hair styling (editorial). I’ve studied coloring and other hairdressing skills extensively, as well. I’m a believer that you shouldn’t spread you skills too thin. Perfect and enjoy what you do best. We can’t be great at everything. Hair cutting is a done deal, no messing around, the hair comes off and you have a final result. I find it thrilling to see the change and the client’s response. Hair styling is molding, manipulating, setting, pulling and tugging using whatever technique you must to achieve a final look. In styling or finishing work, there are no cutting or coloring techniques involved, so one needs different skills.  If you don’t like what you’ve done, the great thing is you can shampoo and start all over again, LOL! I like the opposites of hair cutting and long hair dressing (editorial) in that sense; one is permanent, one is temporary.

Hair credit: Daimien Carney
Products: Joico

4. After all the experiences that you have in the hairstyling/fashion industry, which part of the career do you find most challenging?

I don’t really find anything overly challenging when it comes to what I do, generally speaking. I find some of the people I encounter, every now and then, can be a little narrow minded, resistant and sometimes complicate things. But, I think that’s human nature and the difference in personalities. Everyone has a different point of view. It’s debating, sharing ideas and seeing things from a different perspective that is important in the communication aspect of any job or activity.  I’m not perfect and recognize it, so I’m a very free spirited person. As I’ve matured, I find there’s nothing overly challenging about anything in general. There’s a solution to most scenarios or challenges.  You simply have to work through it as a process.

Hair credit: Daimien Carney
Products: Joico

5.  What do you want to achieve ultimately as a hairstylist?

This is a tough one to answer, LOL!  I don’t really have anything I want to achieve as this huge, singular accomplishment. My achievements that are important are reaching daily personal goals. Awards, accolades, titles, etc. humble me, but I’m really not driven by them. My personal goal, or what I want to accomplish when I wake up every morning, is to have a great day. Where I learn, where I can share and have a fun, happy time doing hair and interacting with people, those are my goals to achieve. It’s really that simple.

I want whomever I’m working with to have a great time, too, and share the same vision and spirit in our project. I try to never take things for granted. Things change, and nothing is forever. To create happiness for my clients and myself each day, whoever they are, wherever they, is the ultimate achievement for me.

We are lucky to have Damien as our final guest for the feature of the month.  We are much appreciated his time and effort in providing such detail and influential feature for us.  Hope to see more of your appearance on TV and other publications in the future.
Courtesy: Damien Carney

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