Since establishing the award-winning Westrow hairdressing group in 1987, with co-owner Marc Westerman, Steve Rowbottom has, as head of creative direction, taken the brand from strength to strength. Best known for precision cutting and education, he is dedicated to pushing the creative boundaries, which has been showcased in full force in recent years with his educational expertise resulting in him spearheading L’Oréal Professionnel’s H3 initiative in countries across the globe.
“Our company ethos is built upon contemporary classics, and this is something we use as a tool to develop all areas of platform and education within the Westrow portfolio,” he says. Originating from Vidal Sassoon, Steve worked under the tutelage of Tim Hartley, international director of the brand at the time, which he cites as “a great foundation to build my career from – I have never diversified and have always been true to my beliefs.”
Before hairdressing, Steve used to play football semi-professionally and coached professionally for seven years. “I also love designing and developing property,” he says. He cites his personal style icons as Vidal Sassoon and Tom Ford, while his favorite look at the moment is the return of the bob: “I love a precision cut!” Inspired by Vogue, catwalks and architecture, his work is best described as classical, contemporary, timeless and fundamental. “The Westrow Artistic Team strives for excellence in all areas; our aim is to never stand still, and our ethos is ‘never stop learning’.”
It wasn’t that I knew what I wanted to do, it was more a case of knowing exactly what I didn’t want to do. After I realised that I wasn’t going to make it as a professional footballer, rugby player or jockey, it seemed quite natural for me to consider a creative direction. Hairdressing just seemed to land in my lap – it was cool and current and for me, the timing was perfect.
I created the team. We have always worked on platform and have been involved with photo shoots and education internationally, however the team has really developed in the last five years, which has brought an extra strength to the business.
Since the Westrow Artistic Team launched – in 2007.
The spirit, the fact we all look out for each other and pull together. This is so important if someone is having an off day. We are all focused as individuals, which means we can deliver each and every time. It feels like a family, where we each have the same goal.
No single person influences me entirely, but I do take inspiration from many different individuals. I admire people who can create something from nothing, or take over something that’s not working and turn it around to make it amazing.
Education, education, education. We will be continually working on platform, delivering education with our chosen product partners, L’Oréal Professionnel and BaByliss PRO. We will also be entering, and hopefully winnning, industry awards and accolades and will be working at Salon International and London Fashion Week. The Artistic Team members have also taken on the responsibility of mentoring up and coming talent within the Westrow group.
The opportunities have been endless. We have become recognised internationally for our work, and have visited Paris, Holland, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Milan and Rome.
In the salon it enables us to be creative, while our clients gain confidence – they are constantly aware of our activity at events such as London Fashion Week as well as educating other hairdressers globally. This gives us a real presence.
I really feel it’s yet to come! Opening the Westrow Academy was obviously a huge achievement after 26 years in business. We are working hard to make a real statement and I can’t wait to see it all come to fruition.
Success: a good work/life balance and a firm foundation for the future.