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A conversation with session stylist Brendan O’Sullivan

If you’re into session styling then you’ll want to keep reading as we get down to the nitty gritty to with session stylist, Brendan O’Sullivan. We talk how to get into session and how to make it a successful part of your career.

Brendan O’Sullivan

Brendan – a UK-based session stylist and owner of BrendansSalon works on commercial and editorial projects across the fashion, beauty and music sectors all over the world. Skilled in all areas of hair design, Brendan draws on his expertise and knowledge gained from decades of experience. From his work with international publications like Cosmopolitan, Vogue Italia, Paris L’Official, Velvet, Elle and Tattler to his styling at fashion weeks all over the world, to events like the Cannes Film Festival, he has done it all. Designers like Cynthia Rowley, Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith have used Brendan to complete their runway looks. 

Brendan has been part of the Unite family for the past six years. Here’s a snippet of him working BTS for Unite at Oh Polly’s LFW SS22 show….

What made you open a salon?

Whilst my heart will always be in session, opening my salon allowed me to have some stability. I still love working with my day-to-day clients and being part of a team and helping them progress in their careers really keeps me going, 

How do you find the time to balance running a salon alongside session work?

My secret… It’s all down to having an impeccable management team. Having a business partner helps a lot, but also my social media manager, PR, receptionist and salon manager all allow the salon to run smoothly whilst I’m not there.

How did you get into session styling?

I started off assisting a top session stylist. She used to work for me when I was with a big brand many years ago, after 15 years we got in touch with each other again. At the time she was landing front covers on Vogue, working with the Beckham’s and she asked if I knew anyone who would be interested in assisting her. When I said I would be, she was surprised, I think because I’m older ad I used to be her boss. I flew all over the world assisting her, I assistted on some Italian Vogue covers all whilst learning the session craft at a very high standard.

How did you discover the Unite brand?

I first discovered Unite when I met Andrew Dale, the owner and founder of the brand and he really inspired me.We had a really positive meeting and at the end he said ‘I don’t usually do this, but I’d really like for you to come to San Diego in the next four weeks.’ 

I hadn’t even signed with Unite or purchased a single product as this point, but I went and looked at the Paramount Business programme. I did the course for four days and that’s how I discovered what an incredible brand it is. As soon as I was back, I got the products into the salon and have been a huge fan ever since.

What do you like most about the brand?

They just work. If you want root lift and hold you’re going to get that. If you want to condition tangled hair, a few sprays of 7 Seconds Detangler will have the comb gliding through. Products are made with good ingredients, are of a high quality and simple to use.

You’ve worked on Fashion Week’s with Unite, how did you reach such opportunities?

It all started with Gary Baker, Unite’s creative director. Gary is a man about the team, and wanted to build a Unite session team. I found him really inspiring and we worked together alongside other session stylists at London, New York, Milan and Paris fashion weeks.

What do you like most about working on fashion shows?

Collaborating with the designer. Looking for for current and future trends. It’s not just about following the trends, it’s about creating them and that’s really exciting.

What advice do you have for hairdressers wanting to get into the Session World?

To set yourself up with the session styling foundations, I think the best route is to sign up to the Runway Ready programme (click here for more info). In the session world their are certain techniques to create a ponytail, a wig wrap and braids. Runway Ready allows you to learn these methods and once you’ve completed the course you are invited to be part of the session styling team at one of Unite’s Fashion Week locations.

And finally, what are your  top 3 Unite products?

Expanda Volume, Lazer Straight and 7Seconds Detangler.

Learn more by visiting Lacey’s Distribution.

For more news from Unite click HERE


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