I could sum up my recent trip to New York Fashion Week in four words. Jet-lag, blizzards, bobby pins and OriginalMineral. It's a crazy dream for any hairdresser to do the "dos" for 10 days of fashion shows, and an amazing achievement for two guys from Sydney and a Aussie grown hair care brand. We rocked it! I'm home, sitting here in my office after the most intense 10 days of my life. I left Sydney with my mate and owner of OriginalMineral and headed to NEW YORK #NYFW #MBFW (see end note). It was the craziest whirlwind I have ever been involved in, where I experienced an Aussie brand that I love, OriginalMineral , also known as O&M, rise to the top. Unless you have been in a bunker or a 4-year snowstorm, the kind of which hit during #NYFW #MBFW, you would have heard of OriginalMineral by now. A haircare brand created in a hair salon in Sydney, has now established itself as a serious contender on the world stage. O&M is created by hairdressers, for hairdressers, who saw the need to create beautiful products with less chemicals. The co-fonder Alan Buki had problems with main stream hair dyes affecting his skin (as do many hairdressers who often end up leaving the industry because of their reaction to the chemicals in hairdressing products). He and his very clever wife Jose Bryce Smith set out to rectify the situation and O&M was born. I'm one of the artistic directors for O&M, and I specialise in colour, something O&M are all about. It's colour without harsh chemicals, without Ammonia and without PPD. #winning O&M's product range now incorporates haircare and treatments for in-salon and at home use, styling products and amazing colours for hairdresser use only.
It was O&M's styling range and the energy of Janelle Chaplin, O&M's Creative Director, that took #NYFW by storm. Janelle has a strong unwavering vision for what the O&M brand is about, and that coupled with drive, talent and hard-work produced stunning results. Her work during #NYFW extended from working with designers to having us prepping hair pieces for hours before a show.
My #NYFW #MBFW experience was so much more than a hair thing. I have always dreamed of #NYFW, not because I'm some super stylist who has to go, it's a bucket list thing. Something I should do and experience as a hairdresser. An experience that challenged me, pushed me out of my comfort zone, made me crazy, excited, scared, frustrated and exhausted! Importantly I learnt a lot as a hairdresser and a lot about myself. This was the kind of experience I would encourage all hairdressers to grab with both hands if it's presented to you.
A bit about the shows At Veronica Beard, Jannnelle Chaplin described the look as modern day farm girl who just woke, rolled out of bed and went down to feed the pigs. These girls look a lot better than when I roll out of bed! The hair was fattened up with loads of Rootalicious dried in root to create big hair, and then Fishtail plaits on one side. All models had fake hair to match theirs which helped create the longer messier cowgirl look. The Team used O&M K-Gravel to take any shine but also to create messy dry looking hair.
The first show by CZAR by Cesar Galindo was held off site and it was afreak show of sorts immortalised in the new show on AMC - It wasn't a runway show but more of art installation. Mixing freaks with edgy clothes and taxidermy. O&M are pushing the boundaries of hair design by mixing cool hair with fashion and interesting subjects.
“This was a collaboration with a freak show, so we want them to look like hot circus girls – a bit clowny, nothing is more scary than clown!” says Janelle.
“First we applied Rootalicious all over dry hair to create the foundation and give us something to work with. Using small tongs on small hair sections, we created a pretty curl - a floaty, candy texture opposed to the more aggressive texture we created last year with O&M ribbon. Next, we brushed out the curl and creating a matt-wet finish – some of the girls then had their hair threaded at the back to create an overzealous bob-type style.”
The next show with CZAR by Ceasar Galindo, was at the Lincoln centre - With blizzards just starting to hit, it was an early start for the original&Mineral creative team. "Cesar always works with beautiful, interesting fabrics so we first thought about how we could translate that into the hair. A pop of colour definitely isn’t going anywhere, so rather than approaching this trend with the typical ombre style (which I think is kind of done), we’ve opted for stencilling,” says Janelle.
What was really exciting was using O&M prototype products to create the "pop" (watch this space! I hope I haven't said too much). Janelle found stencils with similar pattern to the clothes and we (the royal we) used top-secret products then set them with O&M Original Queenie. This was my favourite look over the week. I was super excited to be there and see something truly original emerge on the hair scene.
Next at Wes Gordon, “Wes wanted the beauty theme to emulate a Park Avenue meets London after-hours party,” says Janelle. “We had a lot of fun coming up with the final look and really enjoyed working with Wes Gordon and his team. He is a true artist with a unique vision for fabrics and shapes.”
Ultimately I learned that while I loved every moment of the experience of #NYFW #MBFW it's not the kind of hairdressing I want to do all the time. I enjoyed my taste of the "Big Apple" but it taught me that I love the creative steady work of my two salons. I love bringing back the inspiration from the pressure filled fashion shows, pushing the envelope for how amazing hairdressing can be for my clients and team. The lifestyle is not something I now crave, which was a surprise. I used to think I was crazier, however the 10 days in New York showed me I couldn't work like this all the time. Alan and I travelled close to 24 hours to land in New York, jet lagged but ready to go out on the town. We woke up the next day for our first show jet-lagged and a little slow. We worked hard and then went out again. NOW REPEAT and repeat and repeat. This is what happens at #NYFW #MBFW. It was a crazy, non-stop rush. I don't want to do this all the time. I need the peace and energy surfing gives me, and the stability and love of my family but, man it was fun!
End note: What are all these letters and hashtags about? #NYFW (stands for New York Fashion Week) #MBFW (stands for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week) They relate to what people are saying on Twitter and photographing on Instagram. These social media platforms are some of the best ways to see pics, posts and blogs of people around and in one of the craziest fashion events in the world. They are also great ways to share your creativity and promote your business as a hairdresser.