Anyone who has had their hair done recently in Limerick’s River Hair Studio might have been lucky enough to have been styled by their Award-Winning Creative Director Amanda Whittome. Amanda was crowned winner of the Avant Garde Award at last year’s Alternative Hair Show International Visionary Awards.
Originally from England, Amanda moved to Ireland at 16 and calls Limerick her home. Hairdressing has been the only thing she’s ever wanted to do, laughing that growing up her Barbies and dogs had no hair! She’s worked in the industry for 22 years now and still loves what she does.
Amanda first attended the show six years ago and realised this was an event she wanted to work towards in the future. Her winning look was titled Luminary. Speaking of her inspiration for ‘Luminary’ Amanda says it came from the word’s two significant meanings, “The first meaning: a person who inspires or influences others and the second: a celestial body – the sun or moon or an object that gives light. I hand crafted mirrors and attached them to custom pieces made from hair to reflect my Luminary expression out to the audience at the Royal Albert Hall. The result was magnificent.”
The look was constructed of a mix of human and synthetic hair and took a year to complete, with each element carefully sewn and manufactured by hand. “I coloured the hair to create the soft pink tones and used many techniques to create the overall look including varnishing, PVA glue and invisible threading. I initially sketched my idea and used this as a guide, but found as I worked on my piece I became more inspired and allowed my creativity to blossom.”
One thing Amanda believes was very important in completing the look was not just the stunning make-up, but the trust she had in her make-up Jodi Powell to create the perfect look for her design. Her look certainly wowed the judges, which included industry hair legends, Robert Masciave, Mario Krankl, Robert Cromeans, Ell Essers and Gerry Santoro.
Amanda said the moment she won was magical. “It was technically challenging but it was a journey I would take all over again. I love to challenge myself as an artist. If you want to compete and represent a group such as the Hugh Campbell Hair Group internationally you have to push yourself.
I knew from the start that this was not going to be an easy piece to construct, but I love to be creative and push myself to develop new and exciting elements. I was thrilled the Hugh Campbell team came across to support me. They sat with my family and erupted in cheers every time Luminary appeared on stage. They were certainly the loudest guests in the audience when I was announced the winner. It such a warm feeling knowing that your team supports you.”
Amanda has been a member of the Hugh Campbell Artistic Team for the past 9 years specialising in precision cutting, colouring and she excels at dressing hair-up and styling. The group was founded in 1979 by Hugh Campbell and has grown from a small salon with less than ten staff to a team of over a hundred employees. The Limerick Group is currently made up of five salons: Marbles Hair and Beauty, Marbles Castletroy, The River, Cats and Melo Yelo.
Where does Amanda get her inspiration from? “I believe fashion and our industry go hand in hand. We have to keep a very keen eye on the big designers and fashion houses looking forward to their Spring/Summer 2018 and Autumn/Winter 2018 collections. We need to always be aware of what’s coming around the corner and predict the latest trends. This sounds crazy but I also love watching my niece and nephews because children don’t have a fear of doing something out of the box, they aren’t scared to mix colours that ‘shouldn’t match’ or wear things that ‘shouldn’t go’, so why not push the boundaries?” She also says her favourite motto is: “If plan A didn’t work the alphabet still has 25 letters, don’t stress.”
What’s next for the Award-Winning Creative Director? “I plan to continue to compete and also to inspire others to compete. Since I have been announced the winner I have been contacted by many hairdressers from around the world congratulating me and thanking me for inspiring them creatively. This is such an exciting time, I look forward to spending the next year working towards the Royal Albert Hall Stage and the Alternative Hair Show.”
Article by: Sarah Talty
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