Fellows robes

Andrew Collinge

Oration

Presented by: Professor Frank Sanderson

Liverpool's Andrew Collinge is one of the most highly respected figures in the hairdressing industry today, with a well-established national, and a growing international, reputation.   

He has single-mindedly applied himself to the task of improving standards and to raising the profile of the industry, through his successful salon business - Andrew has ten salons to his name in the north west of England - his cutting edge shows, exhibitions, magazine photographic shoots and the new look Salon Solutions Haircare range - where a product is sold every five seconds.  

Andrew Collinge is very much at the leading edge of British Hairdressing, and not least because his company is one of the largest private training providers in the country with several hundred students progressing through the Andrew Collinge Academy every year.

He was born in 1956 in the West Derby district of Liverpool, into a family with an established tradition of hairdressing.  

His grandfather was a ship's barber between the Wars and his father Peter, a Yorkshireman, moved to Merseyside to found the company in the 1950s - and opened a salon on Church Street during the 1960s.

When Andrew was 5, the family moved to the Wirral, where he was first educated locally before attending Ellesmere College, and then taking a Business Studies course at Wirral Met. There was never any pressure on Andrew to enter the family business but he realised his vocation when he was 19, as a result of a summer holiday spent working in his father's salon in West Kirby. 

After training in Liverpool, Andrew moved to MichealJohn, the West End hairdressers, rising to the role of Artistic Director in what is undeniably a tough business. It was at MichaelJohn that he met his wife Liz -Andrew was a trainee when she came in for a haircut, and the rest is history.   

Liz, a top make-up artist, and Andrew now work together as a team in what remains very much a family business.

Back in Liverpool in 1982, his growing influence made it natural that the business should be re-branded under his name. He sought to build on the values so firmly established by his father (who, incidentally, remains chairman of the company) - an emphasis on high quality hairdressing, high quality training, and a respect for staff and clients alike.   

The reputation for quality hairdressing led to Andrew pioneering makeovers at the launch of day-time TV in Liverpool's Albert Dock in 1988 - over the next 9 years on the "This Morning" show with Richard and Judy, Andrew and Liz completed over 500 makeovers, an experience they both found immensely enjoyable. 

More recently, Andrew and Liz featured on 'Icons', a Channel 4 series in which they transform 15 models into Hollywood Stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

The emergence of Andrew Collinge as a national brand has inevitably attracted many high profile clients over the years, such as Margaret Thatcher, Sophie Wessex on the occasion of her wedding to Prince Edward, and Peter and Zara Philips. But despite the inevitable rich and famous client list, Andrew assures me he hasn't forgotten his roots (no pun intended).

The reputation for quality training led to the award of Beacon status in 2003, of which Andrew is rightly proud. The Government awards Learning and Skills Beacon status to providers that demonstrate excellent teaching and learning, supported by strong leadership and management. Like other Beacon status providers, Andrew Collinge shares good practice across the sector and is helping to develop curriculum specialisms and undertake innovative approaches to quality improvement. 

Over the last 25 years, about 3000 trainees and several thousand more hairdressers on Continuing Professional Development courses have passed through the Andrew Collinge Academy - and many are now working not only all over the UK but also in such far-flung places as New York, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia.

His success in the industry has led to many notable achievements and awards:

  • Northwest Hairdresser of the Year in 1985, 1986, and 1987
  • He was twice British Hairdresser of the Year, in 1993 and 1997
  • In 1996, Andrew became the youngest ever President of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing, following in the footsteps of his father who was the president in 1974, the year that Andrew started hairdressing.
  • When the Government set up The Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority to raise standards in British hairdressing - Andrew was made its first honorary President in 1998. 
  • Andrew's 1998 award winning haircut was still collecting awards in 2000, with the accolade of Best Haircut in Hair Magazine. This image is still much requested within salons today.
  • Andrew attracted the recognition of the world's leading hair and beauty press by winning the world's most prestigious international hair award - The 2000 AIPP Grand Trophy in Paris, where he also received the award for the Best Photographic Collection 

In more recent years, Andrew has been much in demand internationally, continuing the Collinge pioneering tradition across four continents, working for example in New York, Atlanta, Australia, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Barcelona. Not surprisingly, his leisure time is limited and restricted to the occasional game of golf.

But he does however devote time to charity. 

As Chair of Care's Design for Life Appeal, he has dedicated himself to raising  £1.8 million for a residential community near Preston for adults with learning difficulties.

With his emphasis on respect for staff and clients, and high quality service, linked with a remarkable commitment to quality training, Andrew Collinge is well qualified to be the leading spokesperson and international ambassador for the British hairdressing industry. 

By the same token, he is most worthy of a Fellowship from this university. 

Thus I have pleasure in presenting Andrew Collinge, this most distinguished son of our region, for admission to our highest honour of Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.