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04 June 2013

Luke Lehmann, hairstylist

Luke L

Luke Lehmann is a London-based session hairstylist, appearing in various editorials including Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. Luke enjoys working at fashion weeks and on music videos with artists such as Pixie Lott, La Roux and The Noisettes. He lives in Notting Hill and also enjoys cooking and entertaining.

What made you want to be a hairdresser?
The intrigue. I always wanted to have a go as it looked like fun from seeing the girls at school playing with each other's hair. Then I had a go at cutting my younger cousin's hair. I started an apprenticeship later than most (aged 19), for fear of what people would think of me. Thankfully God sorted me out and let me know how much my heavenly Father loved me, despite what anyone else thought. I became brave enough to step up.

Top three tips for a bad hair day?
1) Start again - jump in the shower and freshen up
2) Tong the mid-lengths and ends, back-comb crown and shake it out.
3) No time for that? Wash your fringe (while washing your face) and blow dry; tie into a high bouncy pony tail, or pin into a bun. If in doubt, accessorise.

What's your hairdresser ice-breaker? (ie 'been anywhere nice on holiday?')
"Hi, how can I help with your hair?" It sounds obvious, but, it takes the focus off themselves personally, which helps if the client is feeling self-conscious, and onto the task in hand. When trust has built up, conversation will flow naturally. It is also an important skill to know when your client would rather not talk.

How do you bring your faith into cutting people's hair?
Many current regular clients are Christian so we do discuss personal faith, 'where we're at' so to speak, church or sometimes tricky theology. When I'm on shoots I tend to be open about what I've been up to – whether it's church at the weekend, helping at the homeless drop-in, or hosting an Alpha group. A lot of people don't know a committed Christian so are interested to get a first-hand account. The trick is not to throw a bucket of water on the question of faith, but to light an ember to the conversation, whether for now or next time.

How do you keep your head about you?
I pray a lot; on the go and in the situation. When Paul said "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) he was giving good advice. To keep the flow of the Holy Spirit, through prayer, in your head or under your breath is uplifting in both times of difficulty and peace.

Do you have time to sleep during London Fashion week?
It is nerve-racking to jump into a new team each day, with high stakes – the designer's reputation on the line. I have to remember I am part of a larger team, all working together to make the show fly – it's a great buzz.

Do you find that people share a lot with you about their lives while you're cutting their hair?
You could say I'm a bit of a hair geek, and this comes across in my consultation, which sets the tone of the appointment. I am interested in how my clients have been enjoying their cut and how it makes them feel. I want clients to feel their best between visits to me, not just when they leave. My desire is to edify and build up people's self-image, beyond just hair.  

How, as a Christian, do you perceive the current British fashion industry?
To 'fashion' is a godly, creative thing – fashioning people spiritually, or creatively using physical materials, can be used for God's glory. 'Industry' is often thought of as a man-made thing or pursuit. As with a lot of man-made things it can start from a good place, but can sometimes go a little awry. There are Christians at the heart of the British fashion industry doing all sorts of different jobs, having influence. There are prayer networks and a swell of excitement and expectancy.  I am full of hope for this exciting place, for 2013 and beyond.

Who is your inspiration?
It is a cliché I know, but it is the big JC – Jesus. He had time for everyone. He was unaffected by social position, dealing with everyone in love, giving love. He was never self-seeking or self-promoting. He acknowledged emotions, but he didn't let them knock him from his path. Whose hair would you most like to cut? The person in my chair.