Paddy McDougall, Rainbow Room International

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Rainbow Room International’s George Square salon is housed inside the Merchants House of Glasgow, one of the oldest buildings in the city, built around 1600. As soon as I walked in, I was instantly met with smiles and exceptionally warm service. My coat was taken, I was brought a coffee, and then I waited on Paddy McDougall, Indola’s latest global ambassador.   

A former Schwarzkopf Professional Young Artistic Team member, Paddy has since established himself as one of the country’s most promising young names with a place on the prestigious Fellowship for British Hairdressing’s F.A.M.E. Team.

As part of the 2018 team, Paddy enjoyed mentoring from a host of industry icons and shot a collection with legendary fashion photographer, Rankin. Paddy has also gained extensive experience in the session world, a member of the core team for Duffy and worked on shows including Rick Owens, Y3, and Saint Laurent across London, Paris, and Milan.

After a fresh trim, I sat down with Paddy to talk about his appointment as an Indola brand ambassador and why he’s so excited about his future with the brand.   

Most recently, as part of the talented team that worked on Barcelona Street Style Collection—due for release this year—Paddy described the shoot as street focused, unfussy with a wearable edge. The idea of wearable hair is critical for Paddy, as it gives hairdressers the tools to increase their revenue and learn to style more accessible emerging trends—an ideal that aligns perfectly with digital-first brand Indola—as well as working with Indola creative director, Simon Ellis.

“It’s about giving the Indola community the tools to create better representations of the work they’re doing and to create strong hair that will lead them to gain more clients and increase their revenue. We want to give people a tool that allows hairdressers to be more creative, but also something that ultimately enhances their business.   

“I really wouldn’t have been keen to partner with a brand unless I felt like they had the same values as me and with Indola I’ve found that. Together we want to create something that’s fashion-focused and has an edge of realness. Which is always something I try to get across in my work.”

Not content with simply creating a hair image, Paddy sought to build a far greater concept for his debut Indola shoot. “I think what’s nice is we’re building characters rather than creating trends, and we’re always trying to keep an element of ready to wear. I think it’s really cool for our audience and for our community because the whole street style concept is central to the brand, all the education we do is based around the collection.”

As important as hair may be, Paddy recognises these types of shoots need to showcase a more complete package. The Street Style Collection, as he described, melds fashion and hair in a way like few brands truly achieve. It’s typical for collections to focus solely on hair with fashion and makeup becoming a secondary element. However, this isn’t the case with Paddy’s work on the spring/summer collection, which features a much more cohesive relationship between hair and clothing. He told SalonNV the looks were designed to match with the individualism so prevalent throughout fashion.   

“If you look at what’s happening in fashion right now, individualism is the biggest thing. Lots of the shows I work on are becoming more and more about individual looks and it’s important to reflect that on what we’re creating.    

“Even in terms of clothing within fashion, it’s not one size fits all. Lots of brands are pushing limited edition drops with their collections and we’re trying to do that with hair as well.   

“At the end of the day it’s not just about creating really cool pictures, hopefully, we do that too, but it’s about creating tools for people in the Indola community to use and attract new people to what we’re doing.     

“Sometimes we can almost complicated things because we think that makes them more appealing. But it’s about covering the fundamentals because everything we do should be about the fundamentals done well.”

But how do these fundamentals translate into increasing a salon’s revenue? “Our slogan is “simply smarter”, which is about making things easier to use. This is reflected by one of the biggest innovations I’ve seen since joining Indola with a product called Colour Transformer. This product gets added to any colour in the range and you can create a quasi-permanent rather than having two separate ranges.”

With a clear axiom and identity, I asked Paddy how and most crucially why he would recommend Indola to other hair professionals. “For me, Indola is actually “simply smarter”, with a smaller range you can accomplish more and cater to every single client’s needs. People are looking for a more tailored solution for hair—the Indola range offers this.   

“Most of all, what’s exciting about Indola is the direction we’re going to take education in. That’s why I’ve done so many different things within hairdressing, I think it’s important to always improve your skillset and learn.   

“With Indola and what we’ve done and what I know we’ve got planned, people are going to come to Indola and start using the products because we can really help them.”

Finally, Paddy told us why he is so keen to get to work and help Indola push their education menu. “One of the most satisfying things you can do is share. I’ve learned so much from other people like Duffy for instance, so I think it’s always cool to give back and you can learn from them because they might interpret what you’re doing slightly differently.”