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Rebel with a cause

Rebel with a cause

Beauty Launchpad in an exclusive interview with Robert Lobetta, Creative Visionary, Sebastian Professionals

                                                                                                                                                   — By Kanishka Ramchandani

How does it feel to be back with Sebastian Professionals?

It feels like going back to a house I lived in several years ago. Everything has changed, and I am still trying to navigate my way round a new layout.

What has changed with the brand over the years?

What has happened in the past is exactly that, the past! But we need to look at our past successes as milestones as we start defining what should be done next. I would like to think we are on a new creative journey where we need to connect some of the dots to keep pace with current trends, which in turn means we have to take a leap of faith to another dot.

What are your plans for the brand and for yourself as the Creative Visionary?

For the brand, it’s incredibly important to have a strong belief, a philosophy that has the ability to drive ideas, via a group of individuals that work as a collective. Whatever we create, whether it be a haircut, a film, a product, a photograph or the written word, ultimately the message has to carry our beliefs and our thumb print. If what we create is to be successful, it has to have honesty and integrity, but most of all it has to have soul, and it’s the soul of our brand that will touch our people. I believe that part of my job is to bring back the soul of the company.

How has photography helped you evolve as a hairdresser?

It hasn’t really, in reality I think it is the opposite. When you look through the lens you tend to understand that it is just as important what you don’t show in an image, as what you do show. The hair you are trying to capture through the lens takes on new meanings, as you start to see things you didn’t think you were going to see. Looking at hair differently has helped me evolve more as a photographer than I realised.

You are known for creating iconic images for Sebastian. Do you plan to create more such inspirational looks?

Obviously it’s a different time, and a different set of visuals are needed, I don’t believe any brand should stay with one style, because our style is similar to our taste. We are all on a path thats permanently evolving, which causes our taste to change at any given time. As a brand we continually develop a changing aesthetic whilst our eyes are constantly finding new possibilities. I believe the image of any brand has to change on a permanent basis to stay relevant.

What advice would you like to give to aspiring hairdressers?

Whether you like it or not, you are never going to please everyone. Some people will love what you do and others won’t. Listen to your instincts, and always be inspired to create something that comes from within. Try not to feel the pressure to follow others, which I know can be difficult, but once you find your own style, and learn to trust in yourself, you will then find a way to make it relevant to all those around you. Last but not the least, tenacity is the dark side of creativity, without tenacity, drive and devotion to making something happen, you might just end up average. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and remember this – never let the noise of other peoples opinions drown out your inner voice.

You describe youself as a ‘Rebel’. What are the things/trends that you would like to rebel against in the present hair fashion scenario?

Being a rebel is about challenging the status quo, seeing things differently, and always having a belief. Having a rebellious attitude causes us all to invent new methodologies, new ways of seeing and doing. The method I work within is only useful until it leads me to a new one, and you can only get to a new method by rebelling against the old one.  In order for our industry to grow, we have to look at our roots, which are salons, I think it’s time to rebel against how salons function in the next decade.

In the last 40 years, the salon itself has hardly changed in how it functions. My question is this – can a salon be thought of as a study of anthropology, the study of people, where a space is designed more towards an experience of interactivity. As hairdressers we study our clients, and they study us, and the environment we inhabit together paints a picture of how we evolve. The design of a salon affects how we function as hairdressers and clients, if we take a moment and study the environment, we will probably know it is in need of a change.

What keeps Robert Lobetta going as a hairdresser, artist, rebel and photographer?

I have this sense of community that is beckoning me at the moment. After all these years in the hair and beauty industry, it’s reassuring to still be here, and at the same time humbling. I am always trying to move forward, no matter what discipline I’m working within, and this forward motion has given me a perspective that benefits from the inspirations and openness of the people I have crossed paths with. My goal is to reach out to untouched audiences and communities in the different spheres of what we consider creativity in the visual and verbal world of communication.

How do you manage your time and mindspace to juggle between the many things that you do?

Time management is an incredible skill that I have yet to master.

If I am honest I find it really difficult juggling all the different projects, as each discipline requires a different set of skills, where I am forever chasing time to get things done.

Rapid fire

Favourite Sebastian product…?

Whipped Cream.

One tool/appliance you cannot work without…?

My hands!

Cut, colour or style – which is the real game changer?

All 3 if done well!

Your favourite A/W 17 hair trend…?


One trend that should be shown the door…?

Multicolored hair

Your all-time favourite look…?

Still searching for it

If not a hairdresser or photographer, you would have been…?

An actor

The best learning from a 40-year strong career is…?

Always trust my instincts.

If you were to quote a verse to describe your career, which one would it be…?

‘I see a red door and I want to paint it black!’