My Week in London with the Hob Academy Team

So, going into 2015 I’m looking at my career. I have had so many incredible opportunities and met/seen so many awesome stylists that, frankly, it’s hard to understand. Because at the end of the day I’m still just an OK hairdresser with loads of passion and a bit of potential.  I’m thinking this is the time where everything gets quiet for me and I just start working really hard so that one day, maybe I can be really awesome.

So what next?

All of my previous European training and quite a bit of my research into the dawn of haircutting pointed me towards London. I set my sights on the Hob Academy because of a recommendation from someone I admire greatly and then everything else just seemed to fall into place, as the name of the salon and their creative director, Akin Konizi, kept popping up all over the hair world’s social media.  The team boasts multiple International Trend Vision winners as well as British Hairdresser of the Year winners and many other accomplishments.

I learned a great deal on this trip, but the most important thing I learned is that after four years, six countries and hundreds of heads of hair, I think I am just beginning to understand what it will take for me to become a great hairdresser.

  
The Hob Academy is nestled near Camden Lock in a bustling, creative neighborhood, but also quite accessible to the rest of London. The interior of the salon is gorgeous and also quite minimalistic, in a way that suggests that it really is all about the hair. My first day was quite intimidating, made worse by jet lag and an unreasonable and unexplainable embarassment of my accent. But I was slotted for two days of Advanced Creative cutting and coloring and two days of Men’s Cutting and despite being a bit nervous, I was very excited to learn from some of the very best in the industry.

Now although we were focusing on Advanced Cutting, this was a great opportunity to work on my basics. I easily fall into a very loose style of cutting, which I partially attribute to my initial training…. which was me in the bathroom with old barber shears, just messing around until the end result was good (enough). Seeing the crispness of all of their lines and sections was inspiring to me, and though I always see it in classes, it meant more to me this time because I am so familiar with their work, so I know they aren’t just saying what they were told to say as educators… I know they live and breath clean part lines and perfected shapes.  And in the back of my mind I keep thinking, well, if that’s what it takes to get that result, then I suppose there’s something to it.

I received a lot of little tips to get my tension more consistent and to simply hold a direct the hair better. A lot of what I learned is in the muscles of my hands, so it is difficult to explain, but I feel like I can hold hair better now.

One of the coolest features of the class was that we had different educators every day, all of which had their own style, but they were also quite cohesive and consistent. On our second day, we were lucky enough to have Akin Konizi himself for the entire morning. His passion and knowledge of the craft was not surprising, but still quite astounding.  Darren Bain, our main teacher, had a very relaxing style of teaching, made better by his dry, meandering humor.  My other instructors included Peter Burkill, Jake Unger, Sean Nolan and Nestor Sanchez (who just happened to win International Trend Vision last year).  I was lucky to get time with each of them, and although they each had quite a different style, they also were very consistent in their approach.

Our two days of Men’s Cutting was more relaxing to me. Out of everything in the world of hair, men’s cuts are one of the most comforting to me. But don’t worry, I certainly got out of my comfort zone on the second day, when I got to do a flat top on ethnic hair. Men’s cutting is simple, but they went over many different length families and textures and watching their various sectionings really helped me out. It was also reassuring to see that a lot of their methods were similar to my own.

Below are just a few pictures including Akin in action, me with Darren and Nestor, my models from the week and Darren polishing a men’s cut.

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Tips for Entering the What’s Next Awards

Hello Folks!

I just went through to scope out the competition for the What’s Next Awards, and there are some great entries!  I really was expecting to see more, but I am sure they will start coming in faster as the deadline approaches.  Some of the entries I saw were great, but could’ve benefited by a few small tweaks to the photography, wardrobe, makeup, etc.  Below are some tips to keep in mind when you submit.  I am not a judge so take my words with a grain of salt, but I did win this competition last year and I intend to enter this year.  So why help others?  Because it pushes me to get even better and because I want to be happy for and proud of whoever gets chosen for the finals =)  It is a life changing competition, so style your heart out!

Tips

-Get a professional (or professional quality photographer)!  Having a nice camera is not enough, you need the eye, the lighting skills… you need someone who can effectively showcase your work.

-Get a professional makeup artist.  I do makeup for my own shoots but I don’t recommend this unless you have experience, even if you are quite good at doing your own makeup.  Hygiene, product knowledge and a specific kit designed for print work can make a big difference.  This year the makeup is very simple.  Less heroin/rocker chic and more natural, editorial styles.  There is more of a fashion feel to this collection.

-Get a model that fits your look.  To be in line with this collection, the styles show a little more wardrobe so you want a fashion-worthy model.  You want great bone structure so it doesn’t take away from your style.

-Wardrobe should be SIMPLE and probably black. Jewelry, if involved, should be understated and not distracting.

-This collection isn’t particularly colorful so you don’t need to highlight colors in the photography unless you are featuring creative cellophane placement.

-This collection is also less “busy” than other collections, there are no braids and if there were an unspoken word to define the collection I think it would be “movement.”  Your style shouldn’t be a copy of the styles, but it should look like it would fit in next to the others.

-Have fun.  Be fearless.  =)

And check THIS out for more info!  Pay attention to what you will be judged on and be sure you use Sebastian products in creating your style!

 

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Vidal Sassoon Scholarship Entry

This was my entry for the Vidal Sassoon/Beauty Changes Lives Scholarship Competition. The competition grants ten winners an opportunity to train at one of the Sassoon academies in North America, providing $5,000 of support for travel, expenses and tuition.

I was not selected as a winner, but this entry was still a labor of love and friends and family are still coming to me and remarking on ways it inspired them, so I wanted to share it today. Enjoy!