Four designers, two iconic hairdressing brands and two hair looks were on the cards for Next Gen at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW). AAFW’s hair care and hair tools partners Redken and ghd, with expert hair directors Tracey Hughes of Oscar Oscar Salons and Rumbie Mutsiwa of Rumbie & Co, styled the hair for this innovative show backstage.

Next Gen has discovered and launched an impressive array of talents over the years, and in 2021 it was Erik, The Replica Project, Aaziel and Outfaced taking to the runway. The hair looks sought to actively elevate and complement each of their unique visions.

With one look slicked back into a textured ponytail and the second look working with natural textures, curls and styles, the theme of the show seemed to be variation.

“The two hair hair looks for the Next Gen show are fresh, understated and timeless,” Tracey said. “Designed to be workable with a juxtaposition of smooth and textured combinations to suit the individuality of each designer’s vision. Inspired by the quintessential uniqueness within all the looks, the hair is an exquisite balance of smooth sleek finishes combined with dishevelled textures.”

“The idea is simplicity, it’s texture, it’s natural, almost untouched in some way. There is a bit of a balance, there’s some sleeked looks but we are more creating texture and playing around with hair as it is,” Rumbie added.

Despite the slick style on top of the first ponytail look, texture and individualism was a running theme throughout the show.

“It’s the Next Gen show so it’s a combination of four different designers working collectively together and we’ve worked with the individuality of each designer’s look. From there we’ve taken a juxtaposition of textures together, working with smooth, sleek and shine on the top of the first look and that look will be slicked into a ponytail. Then we’ve wrapped hair around the ponytail to keep that slickness but the actual ponytail itself has got a very disheveled texture to it, with a natural undone curl look,” Tracey explained of the first look.

“That ties in with look two, which is all about the undone curl look as well,” she continued. “We worked with a centre part. We’ve gone through and set the hair first and then combed it out with a wide-tooth comb at the end. It’s about combining that disheveled texture along with the smooth sleekness so we really do get the juxtaposition of the opposites.”

Hero tools and products abounded for both hairdressers. Rumbie credited the ghd Helios hairdryer with the diffuser attachment for its versatility, while Tracey praised Redken Fashion Work 12 Hairspray as a general Fashion Week must-have.

“It’s a really light workable hairspray and when you’re working at Fashion Week you don’t want the hair to be looking too done and you obviously don’t want it to be stiff,” she said. “We need workable hair so if the designers are changing the looks backstage, we need to refresh the looks before it hits the runway again. We need something we can work with, so it gives us a little bit of hold and finish without making it too stiff.”

The second look especially and the theme of texture across the show harnessed Rumbie’s extreme expertise, as a curl and texture expert.

“Looking at the curls, there’s so much life, and I love the proportion of frizz and curl as well, because the majority of the time people feel as if they should only ever wear their hair defined, but even a little bit of frizz is actually great because it looks quite effortless, it’s just like ‘I woke up like this’,” she said.

With the important task of styling up and coming designers, the hair teams worked to ideally suit a range of design ideas and help to push these talents into the deserved limelight.

“It was incredibly important to create looks that translated across the varying fashion and complementing the vision of each designer,” Tracey said. “We aimed to highlight the beauty of hair with wearable looks as an accessory to the unique pieces. It was a privilege support Redken and ghd, and to provide a brilliant career opportunity to our incredible Oscar Oscar stylists.”

It was a celebration of rising talents both backstage and front of house. Remember these designers and you can say you knew them when.

Get the looks:

Look one – low side part with sleek shine, ponytail with soft curl. Textured hair models – side part and sleek, or sleek cornrows.

  1. To prep the hair, start with an application of Redken Shades EQ Gloss Conditioning Colour with Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo & Conditioner.
  2. Section a low side part and do a smooth directional blow dry using a ghd Helios hairdryer.
  3. Spray Redken Shine Flash 02 through the top of the hair only and then brush through with a ghd Oval Dressing Brush. Using a tint brush apply Brew Grip Tight to the top root area only and comb through
  4. Brush the hair smooth into a ponytail sitting in the nape area just below the occipital bone. Secure the ponytail using hat elastic and wrap a piece of hair around the elastic.
  5. Set the mid lengths and ends of the ponytail with Redken Ironshape 11 using a ghd classic curl wand and then allow the hair to cool.
  6. Finish using Redken Shine Flash 02 through the top and follow with Redken Fashion Work 12 hair spray.

Look two – centre part, natural undone waves. Textured hair models – natural afro.

  1. To prep the hair, start with an application of Redken Shades EQ Gloss conditioning colour with Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo & Conditioner.
  2. Beginning at the bottom nape and working up the head, take horizontal sections 5cm wide.
  3. Take vertical sections 3cm wide and spray with Redken Ironshape 11.
  4. Using a ghd Classic Curl Wand set a vertical technique alternating the direction with each section.
  5. Allow the hair to cool and comb through the curls using a ghd wide tooth comb.
  6. Tuck half of the hair behind the ears and secure with a bobby pin.
  7. Pull the waves apart with the fingers to create a dishevelled effect and finish with Redken Wax Blast.

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