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Is it Real, or is it Make Believe?

July 22, 2023

Is it Real, or is it Make Believe?

To what degree can we design our lives?

The great industrialist Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right.” But the central idea of this had already been expressed by Greek philosophers and in Latin by Virgil, translated by the 17th century poet Dryden into, “For they can conquer who believe they can”.  And in the Bible also, “Thoughts become things, be careful how you think, your life is shaped by thoughts” - Proverbs 4:23. and, ‘What you believe, you receive’. ‘What you want, wants you.’ etc.

In this age, what we accept as ‘real’ is entirely dictated by what we pick up with our five senses. But to understand our creative power, we must go deeper and trust, that through our thoughts and beliefs, we are the creators of our own realities.

The deeper we look at the subatomic science of quantum physics the more it merges with metaphysics and its philosophy of reality.

The Universe is made of energy vibrating at different frequencies. Both thoughts and things are made of energy. Thoughts are at a higher frequency of energy than things. We see solid matter, but at the atomic level it’s just particles made of different frequency of energy waves. There are some subatomic particles that have been shown to only exist if you watch them and give them attention.

So what is reality? And how much can we choose to create our own? What do we give our attention to? In quantum reality, high-frequency ‘thoughts’ transmute into low-frequency ‘things’. The greater the belief and persistence behind a thought the more it affects the energy around you and the more likely it manifests as ‘solid’ reality. Good or bad. Positive or negative.

Now, if you’ve got this far you’re wondering what the heck is this science mumbo-jumbo to do with hairdressing. Well, in the development of our apprentices, most are coming from completely different social backgrounds and lifestyles to the glamorous West End fashion and beauty scene.

Class of 2013

We all inherit behavioural energy that can go back generations and we pick up behaviour unconsciously in our childhood. These often set the foundation scenes for our lives. Siblings, friends, school, media, work colleagues, books and movies can all lay down their narrative to influence and programme our unconscious mind. It’s easy then for our lives to cruise in a seemingly random or chaotic fashion with a reality generated more through us than by us.

So much of what we do here is to help our apprentices and graduates reshape their thinking. Especially around how they see themselves and their own life potential. Our technical training is broad and deep, but the psychological training alongside that is essential. It’s a sort of success-conditioning. Being very clear on goals, using imagination to create mood boards to embed new positive thinking, making use of our success library of 2000 books, CDs, and videos, broadening their horizons and opening their minds to much more variety, are all empowering methods that help towards them owning and creating their own destiny.

This month I celebrated 45 years’ work in our industry. In that time, I’ve helped develop hundreds of hairdressers along the path of mastery in their craft.  Each has presented their own unique challenge; most were a pleasure and all an honour that they entrusted their training and development with us.

Last week we focused a blog on Mitchell and this week we have Summer. Summer started with us at sixteen and in her eleven years here has become an excellent salon and event stylist, creating a strong following in the salon and on social media. The salon standards are ever higher and its always challenging and competitive, but its so very empowering to young stylists to create a large clientele of savvy, discerning, successful, and interesting people that want them.

Between lockdowns Summer and Mitchell took over responsibility for training apprentices. This was very much about their own development and learning journey as much as the apprentices.

Their apprentice class of 21/22 saw four apprentices successfully graduate to young stylists. Millie-Rose, Daniella, Sidrah and Poppy are all building their own clientele whilst continuing with more advanced training.

Summer’s Story

Summer by name, Summer by nature. My personal mantra is: ‘Always leave people and places better than you find them’. It’s an approach I bring to my work every day.

Class of 2013

I use a holistic approach to go above and beyond for every one of my clients. Whether new or a client I’ve known for years, their experience is my priority. I don’t see what I do as just fabulous hair (that goes without saying!). It goes deeper than that. I want anyone who leaves my chair to feel their best self, stress-free, ready to embrace all the challenges and excitements of life head-on. These inner and outer transformations are what make me most proud of the work I do.

I believe the relationship I have with my clients is what sets me apart. Communication is key, because I know they’re not just trusting me with their hair, but also with their insecurities, their hopes, dreams and day to day of their lives. I always take that seriously and really listen to understand their needs.

Superstar Awards 2014

When I think of what makes a great Salon Stylist, it’s someone who understands that our work doesn’t end at the salon. This year has taught me that more than ever. That’s why I’ve built a fun, passionate community on Instagram, which has helped build my clientele. I post weekly ‘How To’ videos, I’m a product Brand Ambassador for our ‘Healthcare for Hair’ range, and my clients return knowing they’re a treasured part of the Salon club. 

I’ve been very lucky to be given the opportunity to be the youngest ever apprentice to become a partner in our salon, at the ripe age of seventeen. Which has afforded me many exciting opportunities and experiences.

I have a dedicated salon workspace with double aspect windows, full of natural light and stunning flower displays which are handpicked by Michael himself weekly, that overlooks the cobbled Clarke’s Mews. We like to tap into all of the senses; beautiful surroundings, scented candles, soft music, beautiful flowers, a menu full of delicious nutritious food and drink hand prepared by our chef.

Training for Fashion Shows 

Next, I take it back to basics. I’ll sit down with the client so I’m on their level to help them relax. I ask open questions to start the consultation because I think it’s important for clients to feel that I fully understand their vision, needs and concerns.

I’ll always make time to advise clients on how to handle their hair, whether they’re heading straight out for a night on the town or going travelling for weeks. I’ll give a practical demonstration during the appointment and even get them to demonstrate to me so I can help them along the way. I also offer blow dry lessons where the client will bring all the equipment and products they have at home and I teach them how to style and care for their hair in a practical, easy way, this helps them look fabulous long after they’ve left the Salon and be an ongoing advert for me.  I know we can take our knowledge for granted and even the simplest techniques can be so helpful to clients. Last month I posted a 15 second clip of a round brush section on the front hairline. It hit 157k views in the first week! 

Starting at 16 and backstage at LFW Shows age 20

Finally, I like to check in with my clients in-between hair appointments to see how they are getting on and offer any advice. I’ll also let them know they can find hair care and styling inspiration on my Instagram. 

Training never stops and as well as my teaching the graduates I’ll attend regular in-house demonstrations with Michael giving his advanced mastery techniques. 

Being a team player is incredibly important to me. One of the ways I put that into action is by giving back and creating the same opportunities for aspiring stylists that I had when I was at the beginning of my career. That’s why I take huge pride in the mentoring scheme that we run at Michael Van Clarke – it’s the programme that has got me to the position I am today, and I will always feel grateful for it.

Despite the lockdown it was so important to me to continue training our younger team, it was a way of staying in touch and checking-in and also kept them motivated. I arranged weekly online master-classes, then shared results with the team and on social media, and I also self-published a photo record of their training over a period.  I’ve now developed this into running the Salon Academy together with Mitchell, another stylist who apprenticed through Michael.

It’s a place where I feel lucky to pass my skills to other driven apprentices. And it’s been so invigorating and rewarding to give back, and to helping other people achieve their dreams. The Academy runs formally on Mondays and I absolutely love it. Training and oversight continues less formally between these sessions during salon time. I’ve watched with pride as apprentices who had no experience transition into qualified stylists who are able to look after our discerning clientele. 

Tiffany Watson Wedding

I am also a leading stylist in the Michael Van Clarke bridal team. A few months into starting my journey at Michael Van Clarke I knew I wanted to do Bridal hair and absolutely persisted to join the team. I was the youngest team member at only sixteen but went on to prove my worth and after two years of supporting the Stylists at weddings I was able to look after my own Brides.

I have since looked after hundreds of brides and their families and been fortunate enough to visit some amazing venues and to travel to magical weddings in Italy and France for example. A recent highlight of my career was my first piece of work being featured in British Vogue as a three-page editorial - that was a real pinch-me moment.
 As part of the Session Team, I have worked on many fashion shows, editorial shoots and events, including: London Fashion Week, Julian McDonald, Jenny Packham, Rihanna for River Island, Sassi Holford, Caroline Castigliano, Bridal Fashion Week and many more. The salon has driven many charity events including Royal Osteoporosis Society, Great Ormond Street Hospital & Naked Heart Foundation to name a few.

I now have 11 years’ experience and can’t wait to take it further.  I see myself as a role model to the next generation of talent by motivating and mentoring them, so they have the same exciting opportunities that I have.

Summer Langton at

Michael Van Clarke

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