AN INBORN PASSIONby Yulia Shumkova
A traditional question — why did you choose the trade of hairdresser? And when did you realize that you would like to become a stylist?
My mother used to be a hairdresser and has four sons. We all became hairdressers out of passion for this beautiful profession we saw so well executed by our mother. I was only 12 years old, and I knew this was my future.
What does communication with people in the pro-cess of work mean for you; how important is it for achieving a good result?
Communication is one of the most important elements for a good relationship with your clients, staff, and, in my case as artistic director both for my academy and for I.C.D Belgium, with my colleagues.
What do you think: Do your country´s stylists have any particular features, particularities which styl-ists from other countries do not have?
Our country [Belgium] is the heart of Europe. Brus-sels is the capital and also the capital for the EU. Our country is so small and has had through the centuries a strong diversity of cultural influences. This resulted in a rich open vision and a beautiful mix of styles and techniques. We are lacking the arrogance to set the standards as some countries do. What I know is that the Belgian hairdresser in general is very well informed, and they like pre-cise cutting and softer, more feminine finishings. Through my years of traveling I noticed that our industry is shaped everyway in the same way: You will find some people are doing it out of love and devotion, while others will do it because they need to do something. So I do not believe that there is one country which can say they have more of some-thing that other countries do not have.
Who are some famous stylists you worked with in the beginning of your creative career?
My older brother was the first. He was a star hairdresser in our country, and one of the most awarded in his time. Later on I had the pleasure — because my second language is French — to have a good relationship with the late Alexandre De Paris who visited my academy with a group from Intercoiffure France and for whom I had the honor to do a presentation.
In your opinion, is the stylist is an artist or craftsman? If both variants are possible, which of them would be a better master of his or her trade?
You have a lot of good craftsman in our profession, and all of them hold a piece of art in their heart. Then there are those with a stronger artistic talent who are creating and sharing their knowledge through pictures of their work, shows, and seminars. Of course a strong technical background is imperative because we have to be able to execute the creativity.
Where do you look or find your inspira-tion to get up every morning and do hair and create? What is your main inspiration for the new collection — a nice woman, weather, or something else?
You see I do not have a profession but a pas-sion, beauty is always on my mind — whenI am moved by music, a movie, when I see images in fashion magazines. Of course working for fashion designers helps me to nourish this need for creativity.
You have such an extensive background in our profession, do you have a styling tip or something you do that you could share with our readers?
I always try to encourage stylists in my semi-nars to have respect for the person they´re working on. Try to create something that goes in color and shape. Try to look further than that one haircut you would like to try out, try to imagine how that hair cut will look on her. The total look is very important. If you made some-one smile, consider that´s one of the biggest awards you get in our beautiful profession.
What kind of mistakes are made most of all regarding hair and hairstyles? How can we avoid them?
What I regret the most is that some stylists are not looking at the face. They cut style number 5 or the style on page 6 on any face or shape. I think they should go work for Mc-Donalds. Many times do I see wrong choices made in color. You can avoid this if you take the time to look at and talk to your client.I tell my staff, how would you like to see yourself going out of our salon if you had the face and body of this client? So examine yourself.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years?
I have had the honor to perform on stages like IBS New York, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Toronto, and on and on. At all those events I met so many wonderful colleagues, my hope is to be able to continue to share my passion and knowledge with them for many years to come.
What, in your opinion, are the fashion trends in cutting, styling, and coloring for spring and summer 2009?
In my opinion are there two strong waves. You have the one of femininity — longer hair, volume, and curls inspired by icons like Bri-gitte Bardot and Jane Fonda, and another of stronger geometric shapes.
What could you say about the new gen-eration of stylists as the head of the Hair-dressing Academy?
There will always be talent, and true talent will last, while politically-influenced stylists will not. The basic needs, such as knowing your tech-niques, loving to create, and loving to share your knowledge will remain at the very heart of a genuine head of a salon or academy.