The UK’s happiest industry reveals its brightest stars in the North East

98 British hairdressers from all corners of the United Kingdom woke up to the happy news of their finalist status in HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards. One of these finalists is the area’s very own Alan Simpson and Karen Storr-Simpson from Contemporary Salons. This is no small feat with the 2017 awards attracting hundreds of entries which take the form of photographic collections. The 75 first-round judges drawn from industry experts, hairdressing icons from across the globe as well as session stylists to the stars and creative leaders, viewed the UK’s biggest photographic award exhibition display.

Now in its fourth decade, the awards hosted by Hairdressers Journal International and supported since its inception by sole sponsor Schwarzkopf Professional, continue to go from strength-to-strength in its quest to celebrate the most diverse and creative of talents in hairdressing.

Hairdressing is big business in Britain, with more than 40,000 salon businesses contributing more than £7bn to the national economy and employing some 500,000 people nationwide. These awards seek to celebrate the very best of those hairdressers, awarding them for their artistic flair and technical skill.

The British Hairdressing Awards have launched the careers of a host of household names: from TIGI founder Anthony Mascolo to TONI&GUY creative director Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, as well as TV favourites Lisa Shepherd and Andrew Barton.

The North Eastern Hairdresser of the Year category seeks to recognise the most inspiring stylists in the region, catapulting the finalists into the upper echelons of the nation’s very best hairdressing talent. A win can well and truly put a stylist on the map, securing their place not just as a creative visionary, but also as a local authority.

Hairdressers Journal International’s Executive Director, Jayne Lewis Orr says: “The awards remain true to the original objective - to promote the professionalism and leading vision of British hairdressing, and importantly to celebrate its contribution to the wider world. I am so proud that we can see the impact that the awards have had on not only our own industry, but also upon partnership industries of model agencies, photographers, clothes stylists and make-up artists and its success is shared by many. This year more than ever, we encouraged entrants to produce work that’s aspirational and wearable, to really unify the bonds between creative hairdressing and the fact that this industry contributes £7bn to the national economy and employs 500,000 nationwide. Now that’s something amazing to celebrate!”

The winners of this and 15 other categories including the prized British Hairdresser of the Year title are all to be announced at The British Hairdressing Awards which takes place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, a J W Marriott Hotel, in London on Monday 27 November.

Alan Simpson named as a finalist at HJ’s British Hairdressing Business Awards

Alan Simpson shortlisted as one of the best in the hairdressing business at national awards.

Alan Simpson of Contemporary Salons has been named as a finalist in the Business Director of the Year category at the British Hairdressing Business Awards, sponsored and hosted by Hairdressers Journal International.

The awards, which are now in their 19th year, seek to find and celebrate the very best salon businesses in the country – an industry which contributes an estimated £7bn to the British economy and one which employs more than 300,000 people.

With 17 categories celebrating all aspects of the business side of hair, the awards are a proven platform for raising a salon’s profile. Even finalising in one of the prestigious categories marks a business out as one of the finest providers in the country; a win catapults them to the very top, providing unrivalled recognition that they are at the pinnacle of their profession and raising their profile to give an edge over competitors.

Business Director of the Year is the ultimate accolade on the night and celebrates the best business thinker in the hairdressing industry. They’re a driving force behind a salon business; forward thinkers, entrepreneurs and strategists.

Says HJ’s Executive Director, Jayne Lewis-Orr: “Promoting professionalism, innovation and excellence, the British Hairdressing Business Awards recognise those individuals and teams who work tirelessly to raise the profile and stature of this industry, and make it one of which we can all be proud.

She adds: “The Business Director of the Year Award is presented to someone who’s truly making a difference to the hairdressing industry with their wide ranging skill set. It recognises fantastic commitment and passion for the craft, and we are delighted to recognise these individuals.”

Alan comments: “To be a finalist for such a prestigious award is a real honour, particularly given the standard of other directors on the list. I’m incredibly proud of what we do as a business and this is such a rewarding honour. The whole team are part of this and I can’t wait to celebrate with them on the night.”

The awards take place in London on Monday 11 September.


Alan Simpson, Managing Director of Contemporary Salons is celebrating after being named a finalist in the Business Thinker category of national hairdressing competition – the Most Wanted Awards.

Thanks to an impressive display of skill, dedication and talent, Alan Simpson beat off stiff nationwide competition to secure a place at the Most Wanted Grand Final on Monday 6 September 2017, taking place at the historic London Guildhall and hosted by comedian Katherine Ryan.

Judged by influential names in hair, fashion, business and the media – including George Northwood, hairdresser to Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Vogue beauty editor Lauren Murdoch-Smith, and the founders of BeautyMART, Millie Kendall MBE and Anna-Marie Solowij – the Most Wanted Awards celebrate the outstanding individuals, teams and salons that make British hairdressing the best in the world.

Presented by leading industry magazine Creative HEAD, the Most Wanted Awards comprise 14 categories, each recognising excellence across a multitude of disciplines, from business acumen and customer service to creative skill and technical ability.

When the winners are announced on Monday 4 September, they will each be given the hairdressing industry’s greatest seal of approval – a Most Wanted Trophy. They will also enjoy an exclusive prize courtesy of their category sponsor and receive editorial coverage in Creative HEAD and its associated titles and websites, resulting in global exposure.

“I’ve been so impressed with this year’s entries,” commented Catherine Handcock, Publisher of Creative HEAD. “We have an exceptionally strong line-up of finalists who, together, demonstrate a wealth of skills, innovation and forward-thinking that is very exciting to see. All our finalists are brilliant at what they do
– now let's look forward to the Grand Final to discover the overall winners."

North East’s finest!

We’re thrilled to share the news that the Contemporary salon group has been named winner of the North Eastern region in one of hairdressing’s most respected competitions.

The L’Oreal Colour Trophy is the longest-running live hairdressing competition and honours the brightest talents from across the country.
Earlier this year, Karen Storr-Simpson (Contemporary Hair Academy) and Laura Connaughton (Contemporary Yarm) were shortlisted for the finals after winning the ‘Backstage Live’ regional stage with their style – an orange-red crop with a nod to David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane. On Monday 5th June, the look was recreated live on stage at London’s Battersea Evolution in front of a packed audience as all the finalists competed – for both the regional titles and the grand prize, the L’Oreal Colour Trophy Award.

Celebrity host Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw announced the winners in each region, with Contemporary beating off competition from three other Grand Finalists to be named North Eastern champions! We’ve not stopped celebrating since!

Contemporary reaches finals of national hairdressing competition!

Contemporary has won a sought-after place at the prestigious L'Oréal Colour Trophy Grand Final 2017, one of hairdressing’s most respected competitions.

On Tuesday 11th April, the Royal Amouries, Leeds, was host to the North Eastern heat of the L’Oreal Colour Trophy Awards, which saw over 40 of North East England’s brightest, fashion-focussed hairdressers competing in three categories. The teams had only 30 minutes to create their fashion-inspired, flawless winning look to impress the elite group of judges.

Contemporary’s Karen Storr-Simpson (Contemporary Hair Academy) and Laura Connaughton (Contemporary Yarm) were named winners in the Women’s Image Award after their expertise and creative flair won over a panel of acclaimed judges in the live hairdressing competition. The pair are now just one step away from winning the L'Oréal Professionnel Colour Trophy.

From hundreds of initial photographic entries to 500+ regional finalists, now just 54 salons from across the whole of the UK will compete at the highly acclaimed Grand Final in London on 5th June 2017. The finalists will have just one more opportunity in which to prove their technical ability in their chosen category. Not only will the compete to win their region, but they will also compete against the finalists from all the other heats to win the overall trophy in each category.

The overall winners in each category will pick up a once-in-a-lifetime prize package which includes a European Trip to shoot their winning look, a fashion shoot with a leading consumer glossy magazine, plus endless opportunities throughout their winning year!

‘We are thrilled to have made the finals’ said Karen Storr-Simpson. ‘This is such a prestigious competition and to represent the Contemporary group live on stage is a true honour. We’ll do our very best to bring the trophy back to Middlesbrough.’

Contemporary through to the Regional Finals of L'Oreal Colour Trophy 2017!

We're absolutely thrilled to be through to the L'Oréal Professionnel Colour Trophy Regional Finals 2017, one of the industry's most prestigious competitions and a highlight of the hairdressing calendar. Big congratulations to Contemporary Guisborough's Alan Simpson and Claire Morley who are shortlisted in the Men's category, Stephen Chapman and Laura Connaughton who are through from Contemporary Hair Academy, (also in the Men's category) and Karen Storr-Simpson and Laura Connaughton from the Contemporary Hair Academy who are up for the Colour Trophy Award. Now, the team will compete at the North Eastern Backstage Live Tour on 11th April for a place in the Grand Final. Watch this space and wish us luck!

Colour crazy

Art Directors Claire and Laura recently enjoyed a sneak preview of L’Oreal Professionnel’s brand
new #COLORFULHAIR range at the company’s London HQ. With eight fashion-inspired
shades (think unicorn hues of pink, peach and purple), we know clients are going to love the endless colour combinations made possible by this latest launch.

Winners revealed at salon group’s annual awards

Sunday 5th February saw the Contemporary salon group’s Annual Awards take place. Held at the Brasserie Hudson Quay in Middlesbrough, the awards recognise the biggest achievers
from the company’s nine salons.

The evening began with a champagne reception to kick-start the celebrations, before the Contemporary Art Team took to the stage to present their latest work, the inspirational ‘Mutiny.’ Following the awards presentation, guests enjoyed a three-course-meal then took to the dance floor for the after party.

Two of the biggest awards on the night went to the group’s popular Darlington salon, which opened in 2013; Amanda Day was named Manager of the Year, while it also scooped the coveted ‘Salon of the Year’ title. Hairdresser of the Year went to a delighted Stephen Chapman from Harrogate and Art/Style Director of the Year was revealed as Jessica Taylor from Guisborough.

‘Once again, the Contemporary Annual Awards have highlighted what a truly remarkable team
we have’ said Company Director Alan Simpson. ‘Our continued success as a salon group is down
to the passion and hard work shown by each and every team member and I hope these awards go
some way to showing our gratitude for your commitment.’