Hailing from a family dynasty of hairstylists, Ryuta Saiga (@ryutasaiga), represented by the Julian Watson Agency, is a chameleon in his art. Growing up in the vibrant Shibuyu district and now based in London, his journey is shown in his creations. One minute he’s creating elegant finger waves - the next, it’s an architectural wonder. In our exclusive interview, Saiga shared his reflections and predictions of the hair industry.
Q: As you are from a family of hairdressers, did you ever consider any other career path? Tell us about your hair journey.
A: No honestly, hairdressing was the only profession I wanted to do since I was very young and I've never considered any other job! I feel very lucky and blessed to find what I really enjoy doing to make a living, I think finding what you love to do for a living is a very difficult thing.
Q: Growing up, who/what was your greatest inspiration?
A: My dad, he is my role model, as a hairdresser & businessman, as a person, and as a wonderful dad (as I am dad of 2 kids).
Q: How did your training in South Korea shape your career?
A: Actually, I didn't train in South Korea, I did most of my training in London, although I did assist Shon Ju who is from South Korea. He taught me everything about hair styling and fashion, and how to deal with many situations on set/shoot.
Q: What similarities do you notice between Tokyo’s and London’s styles?
A: I grew up near Harajuku where you can find all the funky kids who don't care what other people think about their hair and fashion, I can see that similarity in East London.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring hair artist?
A: Invest your time and money towards what you admire to do, it will pay off!
Q: How do you predict the hair industry will change after lockdown restrictions are lifted?
A: Who knows, I just hope it will go back to normal, where people can talk normal, shake hands and hug people they love. Hair style-wise; I think slightly longer hair on men will be popular, as they haven't had a chance to get a haircut for quite a few months and their previous short haircut has grown out and realise that it actually looks quite nice to have longer hair for a change.
Q: How have your connections to Toni and Guy influenced your style?
A: Toni&Guy definitely helped me to build me as a hairdresser, I still cut almost exactly the way I learned with my own twists from my experience, I always try new things but the technique I use is always the same, learning strong base skill leads to any haircuts & hairstyles you want to achieve.
Q: What is your favourite look you’ve created and why?
A: It’s the beauty story I did with Grant James Thomas for Italian Vogue, we casted mature models, it wasn’t about making them look younger or too beautiful. It was all about creating characters, slightly odd in a way. He gave me total freedom to create wigs that I want.
Q: How do you feel about old hairstyles returning to fashion? Which ones are your favourite?
A: I am really enjoying it! I love the old school 60s & 70s retro hairstyles. It’s all about prepping and the step by step process. It's a bit like architecture, if I skip or forget one process it won’t happen.
Q: What is the one product you always need on set?
A: Depends on the look I created but Elnett hairspray is always with me. Hair tool-wise, definitely Mason Pearson brush.
Follow Ryuta on his Instagram @ryutasaiga to see more of his work.