For the last five years BIBA salons and Academy has invested in a fresh talent competition, aptly named Next Level, with this year’s event taking place on November 17. The intrinsically creative platform raises the bar of hairdressing competitions in Australia with a no boundaries approach unique to the heartfelt BIBA brand, writes Cameron Pine.
Making it truly unique in the realm of hairdressing industry competitions BIBA Next Level is like no other hairdressing competition in Australia. You only need to witness the standard of free form work first hand to see why the energy and emotion in the room is what keeps our industry alive. Free to enter, to the surprise of many, considering the investment BIBA significant into the annual platform, entrants are merely required to make a gold coin donation to EDVOS when they registered their model on the competition day, with friends and spectators also showing their support by spilling out into the street to show their support. Held at the Fitzroy campus not only entrants, but many wanting to help celebrate the sheer standard of work put their hands in their pockets to support their peers and ultimately the greater community. The chosen charity, Edvos is an organisation set up to combat the effects and prevent domestic violence.
“Next level was designed to create an opportunity for hairdressers and students to be truly creative. Pavlos Divitaris (BIBA founder) has always been interested in competitions believing they’re the backbone of our industry,” said BIBA Education Manager, Lyndall Salmon.
“We don’t have fashion rules and Pavlos always wants to push our industry to the next level, which is why we called it Next Level. It’s about the total look and anything goes,” she said.
Eliminating the anxiety associated with competition work, BIBA’s aim was to keep the door wide open throughout the process by providing mentoring before the competition day and as much support as entrants needed to help their vision become a reality. Taking the fear out of entering, anyone including other salons that educate staff at BIBA were all welcome to enter.
With Next Level, there really are no boundaries like many major competitions in the industry plagued by strict guidelines and rules and spectrum of work that is limited, the BIBA competition work is some of the best our industry has seen at a creative level in a long time. As Lyndall put it, “There are no rules when it comes to the total look – you can free the nipple – we want everyone to express themselves,” she said.
Work ranged from a super slick Ken like men’s interpretation which included robotic choreography to match – striking and extremely solid colour work, barbering techniques, self-made costumes, hair pieces, a zipper in the hair, sharp cuts, awe-inspiring outfits and loads of textural inspiration – making it a very difficult task for the judges to choose with the quality of all of the work remarkably elevated. Judges included Sandy Chong from the AHC, Cameron Pine from INSTYLE magazine, Sam Battenally from Masci Hair, Pete Koziell from Chumba, Louisa Salmon from The Bearded Man and Rachel Vitullo from Joey Scandizzo salon.
Judged on the total look moreso than just one aspect of hairdressing all work was considered for overall execution, commercial relevance, hair condition, balance and shape, beauty and fashion but most of all creativity. All judges left on a high with the possibility of just what might be in store for the judging process in 2020 but most of all with the affirmation that the hairdressing industry has such a wholehearted leader within BIBA Academy. The process also involved judging live within the academy but also an element of seeing the work on the catwalk in the street, to really see the strongest visions come to life.
After a full day of work, feel-goof food including a popcorn machine and what many called an ‘epic playlist’ of tunes the energy the spilled from the multiple levels of the Academy and onto the street is something unique to the world of BIBA and notably, unique to Melbourne, many making the remark that if it were a corporate venue or Sydney event there would be complaints for noise and ‘too many restrictions’ but ultimately is this freedom that remains unique to the BIBA DNA today – a creative standard set by its founders, Paul and Carmel Divitaris. Next level really does refresh everyone’s passion for the industry.
With an incredibly generous prize pool – the winner from each category will receive a career-boosting trip to London for one week, including return flights, accommodation and course fees at Sassoon Academy in London, with runners up receiving a Dyson Pro professional hairdryer valued at $549.
Following competition day, later in the evening during the awards event held at the Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood, a grungy bar perfect for the announcement of the winners with two levels overlooking the stage, entrants were encouraged to take their model to celebrate the creative energy unique to such a dynamic hairdressing Academy.
“People say I talk too much but I am so passionate about the creativity and the work and what this means to our industry. We must all come together and support each other – there are people in this room that have been with us for a long time and continue to make BIBA what it is. Let’s continue to make a difference to this industry,” Pavlos said.
With the competition being the talk of the town for days after, I personally left feeling incredibly motivated and inspired by such a solid standard of work and such a heartfelt culture that’s unique to BIBA. No doubt, this tried and tested hairdressing brand will continue to take out industry to the next level!
Congratulations to all the winners:
BIBA Academy RTO Apprentice Award
1st Zoe Lucas of Xiang Hair QV
2nd Amy Degiorgio of Xiang Hair Essendon
3rd Melissa Eisentraut of GIGI Instyle
BIBA Academy Full-Time Student Award
1st Bianca Covelli
2nd Larissa Forbes
3rd Dizzy Birchmore
BIBA Styling Award (Open Category)
1st Stephanie Yovanche of BIBA Northland
2nd Charlotte Stephenson of The Factory
3rd Cain Ireland of BIBA Clifton Hill
Master Colour Award (Open Category)
1st Emma Harrison of BIBA Hawthorn
2nd Sanja Scher of Chiseled Hair
3rd Alexandra Djuric of The Factory
Barbering Award (Open Category)
1st Baylene Li of Fleet Street Northcote
2nd Ryan Brown of BIBA Gertrude St
3rd Paddy Connor of BIBA Academy
Junior Barbering Winner
Credit images Black Note Photography
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