Undeniably one of the most accomplished and visionary hairstylists in the last 20 years, Damien Carney has elevated hairstyling into an art form through an impressive body of work.
Since 1999, Carney has wielded his scissors and unique artistic vision for Shiseido Laboratories as the International Artistic Director for the beauty giant’s prestigious Joico hair care brand. In 2006, Carney channeled his passion for education into establishing Damien Carney London, a modern, mobile hairstyling academy with satellite offices in London, New York and Los Angeles. Estetica sat down with Damien and we’re excited to share our inside personal interview with all of our readers! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
What do you think 2014 has in store for you? “More of what 2013 had to offer; it was an incredible busy year. Often my year-to-year jobs or projects are repeated business, e.g. trade shows, photo shoots. My main focus is education, editorial work, and a sprinkle of celebs. My focus or business plans are always built around education, photo shoots, editorials, etc. I don’t own a salon, I did in the past and this gives me extra freedom to do the jobs I enjoy most.”
What’s the craziest hair you’ve ever had to deal with? “There’s not one crazy head of hair. These days you’re dealing with crazy things all the time. Stupid, irritating things! (LOL) People over coloring, over cutting and messing with their hair way too much. So often I’m correcting or repairing a look. I have my limits to what I will do. I’m asked to do all kind of crazy things, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to do it. One has to maintain standards…”
Who’s your idol? “My mother and father, I’m an extension of how they raised me. Blood is thicker than anything… Good old-fashioned beliefs. Work hard, focus and stay on track. Set your self apart from the competition. That simple.”
What current trend do you love and hate, and why? “Today’s world of trends is very mixed. There are mini trends within a trend. The economy has affected our business and many other industries too. When the economy is bad we have to calculate how we can sell our ideas, sell them and survive. I like the fact that trends today, are elastic they are adapted to suit all body shapes and sense of fashion. Trends today don’t discriminate. But I miss the one look or trend that is the hot trend of the moment. Designers are designing to maintain business and their loyal fans. Rather than being innovative or ground breaking with designs. I love Galliano, Dior, McQueen, and Prada. They always stay true to their heart; they design innovative ideas and concepts. Those others follow. Bravo! I don’t hate any thing or one trend. One thing is for sure: I cannot change what ever trends are out there; I must go with the flow and embrace, enhance and improve what’s out there. Make it my own. Thinking about it… I’m not a fan of the Ombré. When it’s done right it looks amazing, sadly I’ve seen way too many disasters! Trends require technical and creative skills. The wrong combination is disastrous. In today’s world if you blink you miss a decade. Go online and research trends. By the time you log off, the trends are dated and something else is the new trend.”
What’s your greatest strength? “I’m Damien, that simple, no one else, I’m not trying to be another carbon copy of another leading hairdresser. I’m patient and extremely loyal. And I’m very clear of where I came from and my roots… I have, I think… LOL! A good balance of fun and professionalism. Go with the flow. In the past I would often go up stream. What’s the point, it achieves nothing. Go with the flow with a bit of charm, personality and humor you can get virtually what you want.”
What have you done to not get lost in the crowd? “Keeping my own identity and signature to my work or personality – via my photographic work. If you’re doing, copying what every one else is doing, then you have nothing to offer from the crowd. It can be difficult to separate ones self, when we have been programmed and trained to do things in a certain way. It’s the little details and how one views the world of hair that makes a huge difference. There are only so many ways of cutting, coloring or dressing hair. That’s fundamental techniques that never changes. I like to pull things apart and put it all back together in a non-obvious way.”
What’s the best two cents someone’s ever given you in the industry? “Trevor Sorbie London when I worked for him as principle of education. Trevor is unique. He worked as creative director at Sassoon’s and set up on his own. Creating his own world and vision. In short do some thing and do it really well. Follow you heart and your instincts, practice, practice and perfection will come.”
If you could have dinner with 3 people dead or alive whom would they be and why? “Rock Hudson for all the gossip and how he lived his life. Glamorous but sheltered life. YSL – for being an amazing designer. A private, intense and probably tortured person. Would love to pick his brain on all levels, professionally and personally. David Bowie – I love his lyrics, music, fashion and more. How he just gets better as he matures. Genius!”
What’s your favorite restaurants and places to go to in your city? “I don’t have any – sorry, I’m a mom and pop kind of person. I travel the world and I’m often taken to the latest hot spot of the city. It’s nice as a treat and to get to see the spirit of any city. But! I would rather have dinner at a friends, that’s more important than the trendy cool hot spot. It’s weird when I was younger I would dream of having dinner in fancy places, now I’m doing it, it can become a routine. So I yearn for the simple things. London is home; home is where the heart is. So for food and comfort at the end of a hard working day, London comfort food is just perfect for me: Sunday roast, Fish and Chips, English breakfast. All the unhealthy foods. I’m feeling hungry!”
What celebrity would you love to style and why? “Don’t get me started on the celeb topic. Don’t get me wrong, they have influence and always will. The every day person sees them as glamorous, untouchable and inspirational. I see most of them manufactured and all looking the same. Cookie Cutter! I have done celebs, many. Some are nice, but most need a reality check. They’re so insecure with their entourage of people. I find it a turn off. Celebs – what about them… Streets, music are my biggest inspiration, experimental, fun and inventive. Celebs….. NEXT question please. LOL!”