A traditional barber who also happened to be his dad’s best friend, Cos Sakkas recalls feeling instantly at home in this hairdressing environment. “I loved the banter and wondered how this could ever feel like work. It continued to be the only place I had my hair cut until I enrolled on to the TONI & GUY beginners course in 1992.
On visiting the Academy for the first time,Sakkas immediately knew it was the place for him. “I could see myself there within the first ten minutes” he recalls, “the work was truly groundbreaking, and the artistic team was an eclectic mix of technically brilliant haircutters and visionary session stylists”.
Twenty four years later, he continues his work with TONI & GUY, where he now holds the title of International Artistic Director and Head of Education. We caught up with Sakkas and took a look at the collection which earned him his third London Hairdresser of the Year Award in 2015.
What inspires you? People and street fashion have always inspired me. I love everything about the rawness of anti-fashion, right up until it’s polished and perfected by the leading fashion houses. It’s exciting seeing how people interpret our environment. I love portrait photographers; my favourite is Juergen Teller. He has a heartening relationship with the realism of fashion, drawing beauty from reality. Another huge influence is Nick Knight. He has a magnificent way of manipulating what we expect from photography, turning modern ideas and influences into groundbreaking realities.
Current favourite hair trend? What’s happening right now is really interesting. SS16/AW16 is all about the enhancement of everyone’s individual texture. It’s no longer about faking it, rather enhancing what you’ve already got. If it’s straight, go poker, if it’s curly, let’s make them bounce. I saw this at House of Holland’s AW16 show at London Fashion Week,where I had the honour of heading the session team this year. The casting team ‘character-cast’ their models to have a diverse range of natural hair types. There was short hair, curly hair, long, straight; the show allowed freedom of expression, it was a really interesting concept to work on. We’re drawing on street style whilst moving away from the polished and professional clones, and celebrating people’s individuality.
“People and street fashion have always inspired me. I love everything about the rawness of anti-fashion, right up until it’s polished and perfected”
What’s in store for the future? I love working on shows at Fashion Week. It’s so important to be there because it allows you to play an integral role with what’s happening in fashion right now. Being able to dictate trends and push ideas forward is exciting. I also want to continue to work on photo-shoots; I find them so inspiring. It’s brilliant seeing your ideas come to life and to be able to document your work in a visual diary. Most of all, I want to continue representing British Hairdressing in any which way I can. Winning London Hairdresser of the Year for the third time was a real honour; I want to continue to push myself to achieve more.
What advice would you give to an aspiring hairdresser? Always take every opportunity that is dealt to you: any show, shot, or assisting job, it doesn’t matter how small or how early it may be, these opportunities lay the paths for your future. I’ve never regretted anything I’ve done and loved every single minute of it.