It is said that a woman’s crowning glory is her ‘hair’, and it’s the crown she never takes off! For centuries, ‘hair’ is seen as a symbol of strength and beauty in women, and from the dawn of civilization, ‘hair’ has been a fashion statement. Queen Cleopatra’s intriguing braids to heavily sprayed and back-combed beehive and bouffant hairdo of the 70s, to posh bobs and cute fringes, hair curled or waved in rollers, dreadlocks, braids, chignons, buns et al, in all forms and shapes have dominated fashion over time. And truly a good hair day is a boost to one’s self confidence to take on the world!
In that light, Ramzi Rahaman, the celebrated and sought after Hairdresser has been living and breathing it all for fifty years in turning the ‘ordinary’ into the ‘extraordinary’ with his remarkable talent & skill! He is a Master Craftsman in his trade, a technically perfect, skilled veteran in the industry for half a century. He is also a famed Beautician, in the art and craft of make-up, and reputed for his bridal creations in making brides breathtakingly beautiful on their unforgettable day.
Ramzi was born into a Malay family of seven (six boys and a girl). Born and raised in Colombo, his father, an accountant, very early on recognised that Ramzi was a ‘cut’ above. His natural talent swayed for art and oil painting and to hone his skills his father sent him to the acclaimed Ivor Baptist, a landscape artist, even though he could ill afford the lessons! As much as Ramzi enjoyed painting, he was fascinated by his maternal grandmother’s long hair which she skilfully wove into chic styles. She became his muse – a creative influence to inspire Ramzi to take on hair dressing seriously. However, as the culture dictated then, in the 1970s Ceylon, it was an industry commanded by females such as Salon Moira, Janet Dias, Salon Gladys, etc. It was almost impossible for Ramzi to enlist as a student for hair-dressing in a profession which was meant exclusively for females. Nevertheless, dauntlessly and relentlessly he pursued his goal to learn the craft that he was passionate about, and finally was enlisted as the only male student in a class brimming with females where he topped the batch with excellence at its conclusion. He speaks of his guru, Logi Mariathasan with deep affection for affording him the opportunity.
Ramzi with Former President Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
Thereafter, having gained some practical experience upon his local qualification he proceeded to London to learn the technicalities to be a skilled craftsman in the trade he loved at the famous Morris School of Hairdressing, and then to Vidal Sassoon, a premier hairdressing Institution in the UK, to keep abreast of the demanding skills and trends as required of a top stylist.
Upon his return in the 1970s, Ramzi’s humble beginnings were acknowledged as he launched himself as a ‘Coiffeur’ in a rented room for a salon at Barnes Place, Colombo 7! This was only possible with the financial support of his family with makeshift equipment due to an austere period in the country. Imports were limited, even the basics such as back wash hair basins were lacking. Neither were there any hair products readily available, and he would improvise with stale beer to shape and fashion his hair creations with a perfect result. But Ramzi lived through it all, built his clientele, and adapted to the changing scenes, as the Hair & Beauty industry evolved in Sri Lanka into a mega industry which catapulted him to fame.
Ramzi with Rosy Senanayake
Ramzi Rahaman’s impressive client list includes a former President of Sri Lanka, Mrs Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, her sister Sunethra, Shirnathi Rajapakse, a former first lady (a past beauty queen) as a bride on her wedding day as she wed Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse, a host of past beauty queens of Sri Lanka including Mrs. Rosy Senanayake on her first pageant, and also other well-known personalities. His Salon located off D.S Senanayake Mawatha, Colombo 8 is still frequented by his loyal clientele. His numerous international awards adorn the walls of his salon with photos of his ‘A’ listers and creations. A staunch disciplinarian as a Salon Keeper, his commitment to hard work has been his weapon for success. His sound advice to freshers in the industry is ‘love your hair, love your work, and do not chase after money!’
With his youthful looks and a vibrant personality, Ramzi Rahaman continues to do what he loves best – making his clients ‘feel’ beautiful. He is acknowledged hugely for his invaluable contribution to the Hair & Beauty Industry in Sri Lanka. And, his inherent talent & skill as a hairdresser, fashion designer, beautician, an artiste par excellence whose creations and craft are immensely valued by women experiencing and celebrating their beauty.
Ramzi with Former First Lady Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapakse