It was just weeks ago when Unite proudly announced session stylist Narad Kutowaroo as their newest ambassador. Even with his hectic schedule, we’ve managed to pin down the man himself for an exclusive interview.
Hairdressing since the age of 15, Narad was the only boy (in his all boys school) to take a work experience placement in a hair salon – since then, the rest is history. Narad fell into the industry because he always loved getting his hair cut, and the barbers who cut his hair were “cool” (we hope Narad now realises it’s not just the barbers – everyone in this industry is “cool”). Narad’s barber was clearly a cool guy, because when he expressed his interest in becoming a barber, it was him who convinced him to train in hairdressing. To gain a wider spectrum of skills and choose an area to excel in.
We talk to Narad’s about how his session career took off, and what he did to land his dream job. Keep reading if session is on your radar, because Narad reveals the work ethic required to get to where you want to be.
How did you get into session styling?
I was fortunate that the salon I worked in London did a lot of these things. I worked with people who did things I liked the look of. At the time I didn’t realise session styling was a job in itself, I had always been interested in it but didn’t know how to get into it.
What do you like the most about it?
I don’t like it. I LOVE IT! I get excited about every job because it feels like an adventure. Who will I be working with? Not just on a hair team, but other creatives such as photographers and make-up artists. Where will the job be? What am I going to be doing? All these aspects excite me. Don’t get me wrong, the days can be long; but it never feels like a long shift because I’m always able to have a laugh at work.
What do you like most about the Unite brand?
The first time I used the products they felt premium and more luxurious than products I’d used previously. Over the past seven years, I’ve got to know the company itself and Unite is more than just a product range to me. I really like Andrew Dale (Founder of Unite), and I hope he likes me too. I love that he puts charity work together and it just feels like a great environment to work. Because it’s a global brand. and I’ve been lucky enough to travel with them I now have a huge network within the brand and everyone is a good vibe. I feel honoured to be part of the Unite family.
What product do you use the most in session work?
There’s no one product I use the most, yes I have some favourites but it all depends on the texture I’m trying to create. When I’m prepping hair, I would say I often use 7Seconds Detangler and Expanda Volume.
What advice would you give to hairdressers wanting to get into session styling?
You need to have the drive and want for it. I struggled for a while because I was full time in a salon, but I knew it was what I wanted to do. You need to reach out to people on Instagram, offer to assist. Be willing to drop everything to get on a show or shoot. It takes passion.
How do Runway Ready sessions work?
They are great fun. We start off with a brief chat and getting to know each other and then get straight into it. Its very hands-on, all practical work. We try to make it as close to working on a fashion show as possible. Working in teams, students are given a look and have to use their initiative to recreate it in a set time-frame. It’s a bit like a combination of Great British Bake Off and SAS: Who dares wins.
What is the advantage of hairstylists attending the Runway Ready Course?
Firstly the knowledge. You can never learn too much.You learn to style in a team and pick up new techniques and methods of doing something. Secondly, upon completing the course you have the opportunity to be part of the Unite team at London, Paris, Milan or New York Fashion Week, or even Miami Swimwear Week.
How can a hairstylist progress in their career upon completing Runway Ready?
If you don’t know how to get into session work then it’s perfect. It opens doors that wouldn’t necessarily open, like the opportunity to work backstage at Fashion Week with the Unite team. When I was getting into it, New York was last on my list to travel because the flights were most expensive, however we’ve had two graduates from the last Runway Ready course choose to join Miami Swimwear Week, because they feel the looks they will create there will be more relevant to their clients in the salon – it did impress me that they thought about it that way.
What’s your top tip to cope with backstage chaos?
Listening. You need your eyes and ears everywhere, because you are constantly learning. Also, never assume you know what you’re doing until someone has told you.
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