Patrick Wilson - Liverpool's hairdressing superstar
PUBLISHED: 00:00 01 February 2018
Chanel, Fendi and Max Mara - these are just some of the huge names that Patrick Wilson has worked with. Words by Rebekka O’Grady
‘When people ask me where do you think you will be in five years, the truth is I don’t even know where I will be in five minutes!’ laughed Patrick Wilson. The 25-year-old hairdresser from Liverpool has had a rollercoaster of a career since his early teens, from training with Barbara Daley in her iconic Liverpool salon when WAG culture was at its height, to assisting the hair god himself, Sam McKnight on designer runway shows around the world – including Chanel.
‘Working on the Chanel shows has definitely been a career highlight for me. Most recently I worked on their Métiers d’Art Paris-Hamburg 2017/18 show,’ said Patrick, who from a young age had always shown an interest in hair. An ex-dancer, he tells me he would always be doing the hair at shows before they went on stage and on anyone who would let him have their hair to play with.
‘I did some work experience at Herbert’s of Liverpool where I became a Saturday boy, before starting as an apprentice at Barbara Daly. I was there for five years, becoming a stylist as well as being in charge of training new people. It was a great all round grounding in the industry. At the time, the salon was the place where WAGs such as Coleen Rooney, Alex Gerrard and Abbey Clancy would go to get their glamorous hair dos. It was an exciting environment, and that inspired me to carry on getting better.’
Patrick, who had begun to make a name for himself with his signature style dubbed the ‘Wilson Waves’, then moved to Electric Hairdressing at Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar where he got his first taste of working backstage at London Fashion Week. A colleague who was in the GHD art team was unable to attend and asked if he was free to go in his place.
‘From then on, I always booked time off from the salon when LFW was on so that I could travel down to London. It was a great opportunity and without it, I wouldn’t have had the chance to do more of things I have done.’
During his time at Electric, Patrick auditioned for a place on the prestigious L’Oréal Professionnel ID Artist Programme, which nurtures and develops talented, future stars of the hairdressing industry – successfully making it onto the team. He also won the L’Oreal Colour Trophy People’s Choice award in 2014.
‘Both of those opportunities were a really good platform as you got to work with likeminded people who were really creative and it just inspired me to keep on furthering my career. I then entered a competition to become a part of GHD’s art team as guest artist.’
After auditioning and making it to the final eight, Patrick was crowned the winner and has since worked with the celebrated hair brand on a number of projects including pop-up events, a red carpet workshop around the UK teaching other hairdressers and even assisting backstage at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in London 2014.
‘It’s the most watched fashion show around the world so to be able to be a part of that was amazing. I worked on a few of the Angels including supermodels Candice Swanepoel and Alessandra Ambrosio. My salon clients loved the fact that I had just been in London with supermodels and back the next day doing their hair; they were two worlds apart.’
It soon got to the point where Patrick had to choose between salon life or his rapidly blossoming freelance career. He had already been in contact with Sam McKnight’s agency, setting up a successful meeting which saw him become a part of the team for fashion weeks in Milan, Paris and London, assisting on shows such as Max Mara, Burberry, Fendi and of course, Chanel.
‘Sam McKnight has always been someone I aspire to. He’s creates my type of hair; my feel is beautiful, effortless, modern hair with great texture, and he always makes the girls look beautiful. I first started assisting hair stylist Syd Hayes on shows like Julian Macdonald and Pringle,’ said Patrick, who keeps his 21,600 followers on Instagram (@patrickwilson) up-to-date with backstage images from shows and shoots.
‘A year later I was asked if I was available to do a show with Sam. I knew I had to make a good impression and get noticed as if not, they can just pick someone else. It’s a tough industry.’
Since the start of 2017, Patrick has been freelance and a backstage regular around the world during fashion week. His successful debut year also saw him shoot editorials, work with luxury brands such as Graff Diamonds and fly out to Coachella festival in California with GHD. Here he styled a squad of international influencers and celebrities for over four days as part of an editorial for Look magazine, including singer and Strictly Come Dancing star, Mollie King, who he still works with today.
‘I’m so grateful and don’t take anything that has happened for granted. Every day is different and I’m always learning, you can never be too good in this industry,’ said Patrick, who recently moved to London for his career.
‘I could be doing an editorial or a fashion shoot, or receive an email to see if you’re available to do a catwalk next week. Being freelance means I won’t miss these chances as I’m not letting salon clients down. I’m happy I said yes to the leap. I remember thinking when I left, “what have I done?”, but it was the right decision and you never know what will happen unless you take a risk.’