Before his mother Betty dreamed of him becoming a “crimper,” a young Vidal Sassoon likely saw his future as a champion footballer, representing his local league or even his country on the soccer green. Thankfully for all of us in professional beauty, he followed his mother’s direction and went on to become our champion—of style, professionalism, fashionably functional hair design and education.

What many may have overlooked, given all his other accomplishments, is that Sassoon did get a chance to combine his passions for sport and design.

In 1984, Vidal Sassoon was chosen as the official hair care consultant to the athletes of the Los Angeles Olympics. He and his international team conducted months of research with 100 athletes to determine how hair cuts best performed during different sporting events. After observing the natural movement of hair in action, a collection was developed that maximized function and comfort for every sport during the Games. A campus salon was set up to cut and care for the hair of 2,500 athletes using the new techniques. Style had truly entered sports.

We were reminded of this story by Mark Hayes, international creative director for the Sassoon group of salons and academies, when we discussed featuring Sassoon’s summer collection—Athletica—as an exclusive cover and photo essay for our annual education issue. Athletica is the current Sassoon team’s tribute to their Olympic heritage, inspired by the 2012 Games opening in their hometown of London this month.

We pay our own tribute to Vidal Sassoon, died May 12 this year, through a special 20-page section. Through this history of his career and influence, and the personal recollections of his compassion and respect for beauty professionals, it is easy to see how the Sassoon ethos of technical excellence, commitment to creativity, and to “training, training, training” evolved as core values for generations of salon professionals.

Champion Your Own Career

Sassoon said, “If you do not share your knowledge, you lose it.” He encouraged hairdressers to learn from each other, help each other, and from that philosophy, the modern-day advanced academy model was born. In the July issue, we spotlight just a handful of the many continuing education destinations available to licensed professionals. Start your research here, but also ask your distributors, manufacturers, associations and peers for other recommendations. Find updates and more listings online at modernsalon.com/academies.