Positive thinking with Louis Byrne

You can’t look after clients properly until you’re looking after yourself, says hairstylist Louis Byrne. And he should know…

It’s actually not that far from Northampton to London, but for Louis Byrne it’s been quite a journey. Four years assisting the legendary session stylist Sam McKnight and countless fashion weeks saw his career skyrocket, with jobs for Vogue, ELLE and L’Officiel and a lengthy stint with singer Ellie Goulding as her personal hairdresser. One memorable week featured a private jet, a performance for Donatella Versace and a gig on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.

But along with the ups, there have been downs. There were times when Louis didn’t feel in complete control of his career, exacerbated by issues with alcohol and drugs and bouts of depression. He was feeling intimidated by the pressures of social media. In October 2018 he fell and broke his leg, and during his recovery realised he had to take back control – of his relationships, his health, his networks and his time, as well as his work.

#ICanIAmAndIWill – Louis’s personal empowerment project that uses social media as a platform for positivity – aims to break the cycle of negative behaviour that almost called time on his career. “My opinion is that everyone, through self-discovery, can regenerate their unique skills, creativity and wellness and thrive as a motivated, educated and inspired professional,” he says.

A major part of #ICanIAmAndIWill is a photographic shoot project, featuring a mix of celebrities (actress Vicky McClure, TV presenter Emma Willis), street-cast models and diverse individuals that Louis finds interesting and inspirational. Most of the people featured have a story to tell – cancer survivors (such as Helen Addis, aka @tittygritty), travellers, adventurers – and the raw, uncompromising and yet defiantly upbeat photographs, taken in London, Lisbon and Ibiza, serve to show how much hair is part of one’s identity and strength.

For Louis, taking back control has led to the opportunity of salon work at Nicola Clarke by John Frieda and, more recently, the role of creative director of the John Frieda Ibiza salon. It’s also meant he’s been able to work closely with TV presenter Emma Willis, whose hairstyle (The Quaff) has become part of her celebrity brand and social media following.

“There is a mission behind Emma’s haircut,” says Louis. “Together we aspire to motivate and inspire women to have the courage to try something new and to break with the norms of what a ‘feminine’ haircut should be. We want to empower women to ‘go for it’; to show that short hair is versatile, sexy and cool. Working together as Emma Willis and Louis Byrne, I think we have achieved that.”


I Can I Am and I Will

I Can I Am and I Will

I Can I Am and I Will

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