March 18th 2017
Behind the brand: Josh Wood
October 29th 2012
Susannah Taylor discovers how hairdressing maverick Josh Wood went from being the boy from Barnsley to the colourist to the stars who is opening a second Atelier at Liberty
Josh Wood is a hugely influential figure in the world of beauty. Primarily a colourist to the world’s most beautiful women (celebrities, fashion designers, oligarchs and rock stars fly him around the world to tint their roots or add tiger stripes into their hair), he is also a visionary in his field and has single-handedly changed the face of the British hair salon. Having opened the first Josh Wood atelier last year (think living walls, bare brick, exposed pipes and modern art), his much anticipated second atelier at Liberty opens today to cater for London’s style-savvy West End crowd.
Here Susannah Taylor, who has known Josh for 10 years finds out what makes the boy from Barnsley tick….
On the new Josh Wood Atelier, Liberty…
GTG Congratulations on the launch of another truly innovative Josh Wood Atelier! How did the collaboration with Liberty (GTG’s favourite store by the way) come about?
JW Liberty approached me and I’ve always truly loved the store. We were first approached when we opened the Atelier in Holland Park last year and we weren’t ready then, but we’ve been talking about it ever since. I never dreamt that one day we’d have an Atelier in the West End.
GTG What are the Liberty qualities that are in you too?
JW I feel quite like-minded creatively. There’s a long history of craft and hard work behind Liberty, and it is also driven by leaders, who at the same time look for collaborations with niche creatives.
GTG Describe the new Atelier at Liberty…
JW It’s anything but a traditional looking salon, like a little jewel box, it’s also quite minimal in that I feel that the design shouldn’t distract from the services we offer, which after all is why people come. Colour-wise it’s very neutral with wild bursts of colour and amazing huge windows that overlook Carnaby Street. All the stations are moveable – so that the space can change as we wish it to. The focal point however is the Illume light bar, an area that we have dedicated to showing the best light for hair in London. Here we have different types of lighting so you can see your hair as if it were different times of day.
GTG What else do you have up your sleeve?
JW There’s a larder where you can help yourself to food or juices. Radiance Cleanse juices (www.radiancecleanse.com) are creating juices especially for us, and healthy food is provided in take-away boxes for the time-starved. Plus, everyone has an iPod they can tune into and there’s even a concierge service, so if you need some shoes re-heeled, someone to book you a car or pick up your dry cleaning while you have your greys retouched then we’re here to try and help.
GTG What do you put your success down to?
JW Hard work – my work ethic is very strong, but I also like to push the boundaries and work in extremely creative environments that others might shy away from. I’m also not afraid of failing – when it comes to hair colour especially, you can always fix it.
GTG Tell me about hard work….
JW You have to be able to do more than two things at once.
GTG When did you realise you were really good with hair?
JW I don’t think it’s a case of realising I was good at something but just that in everything I do, I try to be the best I can be, otherwise it wouldn’t continue. Some people take the easy route in life, I don’t.
GTG What drives you?
JW Loss has played a huge part in my career, my dad died when I was four and my mum when I was 24, and undoubtedly this has driven me on in life.
GTG Who has inspired you?
JW One lady – Annie Humphreys who I worked with at Sassoon. She always did things creatively that no one else dared to do.
JW Creativity makes me tick, as well as people who are perceived as outsiders. Also I like the feeling of being at the cutting edge and working with people who are at the cutting edge.
On looking after body and mind…
GTG You are a huge yoga fanatic and visit Jivamukti yoga daily if you can. What do you get out of it?
JW The reason I practise yoga is that for me it’s a much bigger proposition than say just meditation. It involves movement, chanting and concentrating on my breathing. I feel it makes me put the world into perspective and helps me be a better person in every way. Jivamukti teaches you that there is a bigger picture – that it’s possible to really live life and not control it. When I’m away travelling I’ll do a Jivamukti DVD on my laptop. www.jivamuktiyogalondon.co.uk
GTG What else do you do to stay healthy?
JW I’m a big believer in taking vitamins. I take Atone, a range of natural enzyme supplements that help regulate specific cell functions in the body www.atoneonline.com
48 hours in the life of Josh Wood
JW Yesterday I was up at 4.30am to go to Monaco to do a client's hair. When I came back last night the plane was delayed an hour and a half which nearly finished me off. Then today I had my first meeting at 7.30am with Liberty, and since then I’ve had 12 clients, approved a design for the Atelier opening party, spoken to the caterers, solved myriad problems with the architects, had another meeting, done this interview and then this evening I’m organising a staff night out for the 40 of us.
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