Jimo Salako is an international hairdresser, director, photographer and filmmaker. Having been in the hairdressing industry for the past 30 years, his experience within campaigns has led him into many different directions. Jimo has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, and is very keen on highlighting the importance of good relationships to his students.
Tell us about yourself...
I’m Jimo Salako, I’ve been hairdressing for 30 years and during that time I’ve worked on various photoshoots, international campaigns with directors, photographers, brands such as Prada, Fendi, Comme des garcon and shows as well. During that period, I started making my own photographs. Moving forward, I started to make short films and that really started to bring everything together. It brings the hair work, (your character), fashion, styling, the story and the narrative and the photography. Writing is another interest of mine and of course, dramatising that and documenting it, film just seems to encapsulate all those things. So those are the three things, photography, film and image making. I also do sculpture as well so I take that practice into another context.
What career paths are available to the students on BA (Hons) Hair and Makeup for Fashion?
It’s so varied. If hair or makeup is your main specialism, you could go into magazine work, theatre, film and TV or it might be that you teach. It’s a real skill and touch point that can take you around the world. Hair has been a real passport for me since I started in 1984 as I came up working through the salons. Of course, they might end up doing makeup or hair as their main expertise but then they might end up doing something completely different. Now with students, it’s important to at least have those ideas of doing different things and gaining different skills as you never know where you will end up. This is what I’m trying to encourage in my lectures and the students seem to be responding really well to that so far. That’s my practice really.
So processes are important here?
Exactly right. This is what I say to the students, it’s all about processes. I have friends that are architects and of course there are technicalities to it but none the less, it’s about processes. If you’re building up a hair shape or a makeup look whereby you’ll start with a base and build and build, it’s the same. What makes someone really great is when they work on the whole brief, not just the hair or the makeup on its own, but the whole thing.
What top 3 tips would you give to students to ensure they succeed on the course?
Firstly, I would say one of the key things is to listen. Really listen. Secondly, it’s to really think as a team member. Those two are really key. Thirdly, to just enjoy the process.
Why did you decide to go into teaching?
I was invited actually, by one of the makeup artists. I was asked a few years back but I was super busy with my salon and I didn’t have the time. I sold that business and suddenly I had more time to pursue other things so I came and did a talk and it progressed from there. I’m really happy here and I’m doing more and more. This is my third year now, on and off in between other things. Some of the things I see in the classrooms, genuinely leave me shocked. The standard is so high and the work they produce is incredible.
Any tips for going into industry?
I’ve been talking to students about life outside of college and it’s so important. The parameters in college are quite large in terms of freedom of expression which is fine, but then when you do get outside it comes back down to listening and getting in contact with people and working with them. You’re your own boss and brand in the real world, so it’s all about being entrepreneurial. Things don’t just come to you, you have to make them happen. It’s important you learn to communicate with people from different areas such as photographer, direction, creatives etc. When one door closes, another one opens.