Nader’s Raw salon in Surry Hills is one of the top in the country, with a New-York inspired urban-chic aesthetic, $20,000 washbasins in the relaxation pod room and a Madonna-themed bathroom. Not to mention the ORIBE and ghd products. Yep, it’s hair heaven.
When Nader isn’t styling his loyal clients in the salon or holding industry masterclasses, he’s working on high-end editorial fashion shoots and backstage at New York Fashion Week. Returning from the most recent NYFW where he assisted Guido Palau at the Marc Jacobs and Coach shows (and took a #streetstyle selfie with Cindy Crawford), Nader sat down with marie claire to talk all things hair, rude clients and career longevity…
“I’ve been a hair stylist for 30 years and have had Raw salon for 23 years. Hair is in my blood; my sister was a hairdresser and I used to hang out in my family’s salon as a kid, sweeping up hair, shampooing and doing the window dressing.
I love what I do. I want to be hairdressing when I’m 100 years old.
I think what sets Raw apart from other salons is our passion and our dedication to luxury. We’re all about the luxe experience – without any pretentiousness or arrogance. We're all about real people. It doesn’t matter if you’re Joe Blow from out west or Giselle Bundchen, everyone gets treated the same: with respect. We have a very high standard.
People often ask me, ‘Wow, what was it like to do Gigi Hadid’s hair?', and I just say, 'At the end of the day, hair is hair.' I don’t care if you have a million followers on Instagram or one. Celebrities, models and clients come to me for a good haircut and that’s what they get.
It is handy when clients bring in pictures for inspiration, but you’ve got to be real about it. Even with a new fringe, you won’t walk out looking like Kendall Jenner [Editor’s note: unless you are Kendall Jenner].
My advice to everyone getting a new cut is to come dressed as you normally would, so your hairdresser can see your character. Please don’t wear active wear! I like to get a sense of who you are, your style and your lifestyle before I cut your hair.
The hardest part of my job is having a two-minute lunch break [Editor’s note: he says eating a slice of sourdough bread with butter as we speak].
Very rarely, we get a rude client in the salon. If someone is rude to me or my team, I ban them. Two weeks ago, a client was verbally abusive to my staff and I don’t tolerate that. I will always listen to the client, but I don’t put up with abuse. Client’s like that can disrupt the whole day.
I could write a book about the stories I’ve been told by clients over the years – but I never would! I know a lot of secrets and I don’t ever tell. Not even my husband. It’s the hairdresser’s code.
I’m lucky I can mix up my salon days with editorial shoots and fashion shows. I love being in the studio because that’s where you can be creative and make magic. And the energy behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week is electric.
But, of course, the best feeling is when a client walks out the door looking and feeling like a million bucks. We’ll bend over backwards to make that happen. That sounds like a sales pitch, but it’s not [laughs].”