I began my training in my family’s salon in Liverpool. My grandfather, Wilfred, started the business. After the Second World War, my father, Peter, joined and the business became: Peter Collinge. Mum and Dad really appreciated the importance of education and by the time they opened their first Graduate Salon in the 1980’s; the company was already highly respected for its educational excellence.
We had an amazing stylist called Debbie Cooke. In 1976 Vogue launched the ‘Wella Vogue’ awards. Debbie entered and I went along to watch. Top hairdressers, Joshua Galvin, and Michael Rasser and John Isaacs, of Michaeljohn, judged the competition. Michael and John both presented models and I was totally inspired by their work. From that day on I knew I wanted to work for them. Debbie won the heat and went on to win the award. At the finals, my Mum went up to Michael Rasser and told him I wanted to make my own ‘ID ’ and my goal was to work for Michaeljohn. Michael very graciously invited me to London for an interview and, I got the job!
When I started at Michaeljohn, Robert Lobetta was working in the salon so I used to volunteer to assist him and his wife Kay, as they worked on beautiful braiding ideas for their shoots. After a year, Robert left and I suddenly found myself as the only person who could do both the avant-garde and classic ‘up- do’ hairstyles. In 1978 I was chosen to go to the World Hairdressing Championship in Berlin, representing Michaeljohn. It was a real honour. From then onwards I was invited to participate in hair shows all over Europe and went on to do a tour of Australia.
In 1982, with all the experiences I had gained, I decided I could respectfully return to Liverpool. Then in 1985 my father invited my wife, Liz, and I to ‘set up’ the first Andrew Collinge salon: Andrew Collinge Hair & Beauty. Not long after, he suggested we rebrand all the salons.
The British Hairdressing Awards began in 1985. I entered under ‘Midlands’ and won. That first year Anthony Mascolo won the London Hairdresser of the Year, Trevor Sorbie won British Hairdresser of the Year, and Robert Lobetta won Avant-Garde Hairdresser of the year. I went on to win the Midlands award in 1985 and 1986 and was the first person to enter the British Hairdressing Hall of Fame. Later I won British Hairdresser of the Year in 1993 and 1997; an incredible honour.
When Granada TV launched ‘This Morning’ in 1988, the researchers phoned Hairdressers Journal to see if they could recommend a hairdresser and makeup artist for a 3-month pilot show and we were recommended. Our 3-month pilot went on to run for 9 years! We did over 500 make-overs, as well as other items such as phone-in’s and fashion stories. It was incredible national exposure.
"In 2010, we joined TIGI. It was a great move for us. I love the TIGI philosophy and have huge respect for Anthony."
Our business has developed, but is still very much a close family business. My sister, Sarah, is Andrew Collinge Training Director, and my son, Charlie, is Managing Director. We are very proud of our Graduate Salon, which not only trains our own staff, but also many young hairdressers from North-West England. And, over the last 15 years, we have relocated and improved our salons, creating opportunities for our staff to grow in the areas that most interests them.
Since working with TIGI, we’ve been welcomed very warmly by the Team and have participated in TIGI shows across the UK, as well as in the US and Europe. We also regularly shoot at the Bed Head Studio (check out their latest collection here).
Andrew Collinge is at Castle Chambers, 45 Castle Street, Liverpool L2 9SH and across North-West England. www.andrewcollinge.com