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For sure, you’ve already seen his work in advertising campaigns and international fashion magazines, such as Interview, Vogue Nippon and Love Magazine. From growing up in a small mining town to assisting British hairstylist Guido Palau and, eventually, becoming one of today’s most in-demand hairdressers, Anthony Turner is leaving his mark on the fashion scene, with his unmistakable approach to hairstyling. Keep on reading to find out all there’s to know about Anthony and his beauty tips!
I’d like to start off by asking you about your childhood in Birmingham, United Kingdom. What do you remember from that period? Can you share your childhood dreams with us?
I grew up in a small mining town about an hour away from Birmingham. Very working class, very tough. My family was definitely not well-off…it could be very hard at times. This is when I began to learn how to escape into my own head, using my imagination as a tool with which to nurture my creativity, and also to educate myself with all that was beyond the town. I was obsessed with music and would read magazines like Mixmag and Muzic mag, which in turn introduced me to the club scene. I’d see pictures of Godskitchen and Gatecrasher, all of these people dressed so elaborately and no one seemed to give a damn, and that appealed to me very much. All I ever wanted was to be a part of that.
Anthony, when did you have your very first experience in the fashion world?
When I was in my teens, I expanded my music magazine fetish to fashion magazines, buying The Face, ID and Dazed. That’s where I discovered Alexander McQueen. He changed everything for me, he’s the reason why I became so obsessed with fashion.
How did you develop your innate creativity? Did you have a mentor, someone who’d guide and teach you the dynamics of the fashion industry?
I’ve been a very creative person all my life, as I have quite a wild imagination. My nan was a cleaner in an office and I used to go with her when I was very young. To keep me from getting under her feet, she’d sit me at a desk, give me a pen and piece of paper and tell me to draw. She really encouraged my creativity greatly!
That being said, when did you realise you made it, being one of the most demanded hairstylists in the fashion world?
It’s strange, because I don’t focus on that. In fact, I find it very difficult to give myself a pat on the back. I turn up to the shoot, I do what feels right and always try to think outside the box. Simply being able to have that freedom is a blessing and I’m thankful so much for that.
Let’s now take a step back. Early on in your career, you assisted British hairstylist Guido Palau. What’s the best piece of advice Palau gave you back then?
Guido is, hands down, one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. His way of thinking, his presence on set and the way he communicates…it’s all so brilliant. So, in that sense, it definitely isn’t just one piece of advice, it’s his all around mentoring that has so much to do with where I am today.
Over the years, you’ve collaborated with all the luxury brands, hairstyling many super models. I’d like to know more about the collaboration that marked a turning point in your incredible career.
It was an Interview Magazine cover I worked on with a great photographer called Mikeal Jannson, actress Michelle Williams and stylist Karl Templer. I hadn't long left Guido and was lucky enough to be asked to do this shoot. That was the turning point, as it allowed me to get an agent and for people to really start taking me seriously.
Speaking of collaborations, one of the brands you regularly collaborate with is J.W. Anderson. In a Q&A session with the brand’s followers, you said ponytails are very hard to get right. Do you have suggestions on how to create the perfect ponytail?
You’ll need a really good base product to give the hair some traction, a good soft bristle brush (like the Mason Pearson one) and, to be really extra, another set of hands to tie the pony with elastic binding in a double knot.
I heard you consider yourself a control freak. So, what do you feel, or think, when you’re backstage and the result of all your hard work is walking down the catwalk?
By the time models are walking down the runway, I’m usually thinking about where I have to be next and what I need for that show. Usually, during a day at fashion week, I can have up to three shows back to back.
Focusing on your personal work, you released, in collaboration with photographer Sarah Pintado, a fanzine that promoted the LGBTQ+ youth. How did you come up with the idea for this project? Can you take us through its making?
I just wanted to pay homage and salute young kids, who are not only tenacious enough to not give a damn about what other people think of their appearance but also not to pigeon hole themselves. I wanted to really celebrate the notion of how subcultures that have been around for decades are being re-worked by young people today. The process was so fun, basically just Sarah and I grabbing our friends and taking pictures of them. It was very intimate and a real career highlight.
Anthony, what do you think about the relationship between sustainability and the fashion industry? How can haircare brands contribute to the protection of the environment?
Do your research first and foremost, find out which brands are the most sustainable and really just use common sense. Sustainability is only ever going to get more and more important, so big brands are starting to follow the smaller independent brands, whose bench mark has been sustainability from the get-go. Also, just think about it in basic terms: make your products last longer, so you buy less! You really don’t need to be shampooing your hair everyday, for example…
Furthermore, would you like to create your own line of haircare products? If you had to design it now, what would the packaging look like?
Maybe, one day! Who knows...I think the packaging would have to be sustainable and look completely different from what’s on the market, in order to make it stand out from the already saturated shop shelves.
Let’s now speak of your style. How do you dress for work? Is it any different from your off-duty look? Would you say that your style has changed since you started working in the fashion industry?
Comfort is the main thing, and I can’t live without a black hoodie! In fact, a good snug loose-fitting black hoodie is my staple thing to wear. Since working in fashion, I’ve become less fashionable: I used to wear some outrageous things when I was younger, but now I just want to be cosy and comfortable. As I’m on set for hours and hours, I don’t really want to have to think about the way I look, I just want to get the job done.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self? If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently?
If I could give advice to my 15-year-old self, it would be to save money and buy Raf Simons, as it’d be worth a fortune now.
Moreover, do you have a piece of advice for those who’d like to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t spent too much time fantasising over it, just do it! If you spend time mulling it over, then you’ll give yourself time to become nervous. Be bold, be brave and just do it....no matter how far out of the box it may seem, you’ll get noticed!
Let’s end on a lighthearted note. I read that, for you, the hardest thing about New York Fashion Week is not being able to find a decent cup of tea. So, tell me Anthony, how do you like your tea?
Always a strong builder’s tea, just the way my nan used to make it!
Newel 5-pocket jeans
RS-X³ Millenium low-top sneakers
2 Moncler 1952
Cotton crew-neck sweatshirt
Ribbed crew-neck sweater
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