Vidal Sassoon was born in London to immigrant Jewish parents from Greece and Spain. He and his younger brother lived in an orphanage for 7 years due to his mother's extreme poverty after his father abandoned the family. Vidal left school at age 14 and apprenticed as a hairdresser. In 1948, at the age of 20, he joined the Israeli Defence Forces and fought in the Israeli War of Independence. He became an influential hairdresser with his own salon who created modern, geometric hairstyles. After moving to the USA in the 1980s, Sassoon licensed his name to manufacturers of haircare products sold worldwide with the well-known ad slogan, "If you don't look good, we don't look good." He also has authored several books.