On September 16th 2014, Martin Hillier, the international artistic director for Senscience, will reach a major career milestone. This seasoned hair guru will celebrate 40 years in the industry — that’s right, 40 years!
The award-winning hairstylist is based in Vancouver, but continues to travel the world, and is widely received within the major fashion and beauty industry events as New York Fashion Week, Salon International London UK, and the main stage at the ABA’s. His work has been featured in top magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, NOVA Magazine, HJi, Culture, Elle, Salon Magazine, and Marie Claire.
Hillier originally had two big dreams — to be a clothing designer and an artist. But like most childhood dreams, they were squashed with reality. Hillier was told at a young age that he had virtually no academic attributes and that his artistic ability counted for little in the scheme of things, it was suggested that he forgo schooling and enter the workforce.
Hillier, 16, took up the position of apprentice at Raymonds, a local salon in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, England. At the onset of his apprenticeship, he knew he was home at last. Hillier gives credit to the senior stylists for teaching him so many styles and setting skills —the same skills he later took to fashion weeks and stages around the world. One of his apprentice teachers, an older female, had been a hairdresser since her teens and did hair during the Second World War. Hillier would often stay late, so she could show him how to do original Victory Rolls and other period styles.
Once his apprenticeship finished, Hillier moved back to London and worked for S&L Group at the Dickens and Jones department store. Working with many famous London faces, he was constantly learning and honing his skill set. “I have to thank my hair heroes,” recalls Hillier. “Toni and Guy, Sassoon, Trevor Sorbie, Robert Labbetta, Jingles, and The Rusks allowed me to feel like I was a part of something remarkable and helped me believe in this extraordinary art that is hair.”
Hillier beams as he looks back at his extensive career, “It is simply amazing that a boy who was told he had no potential is a partner at a prestigious salon in Vancouver, travels the world as a global art director, is bumping shoulders with the rich and famous, and has had work published in trade and consumer magazines worldwide.”
An inspiration to any kid with a dream, Hillier remains humble and imparts some words of wisdom: “For all the other young people out there that maybe think they’ll never be enough or that they’re dreams are for other people. It’s not up to someone else to decide who you are; it’s up to you to show the world!”
“From this point on, it’s about giving back,” states Hillier when talking about the next leg of his career. Celebrating 40 years in the industry will not slow down Hillier; it will only fuel him as he continues to travel the world and receive numerous accolades. He will continue to work at the Lounge Hair Studio in Vancouver, and attract celebrity clientele with his innovative style.