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The Wrap: BIBA Next Level

With a fitting name like Next Level, BIBA introduced both full and part time students to the creative stage with an awards program to not only introduce but inspire the next generation of our industry, writes Cameron Pine.

Over two truly rewarding days (November 19, with the awards presented on November 27), we took a look inside the BIBA benchmark, gained wisdom from other industry leaders and shared the true passion of hairdressing – a colourful and long-standing legacy for which we have Paul Divitaris (BIBA founder) to thank.

As the ‘BIBA event of the year’ the next level competition gave up and comers not only the opportunity to refine their finishing skills but to jam, celebrate and learn from the art of collaboration among some of the industry’s best mentors, educators and leaders. It’s no wonder, as one of the most respected hairdressing academies, that BIBA invests in the creative capsule of rising stars like no other. They encourage stylists to take the lead from both a commercial and creative standpoint – whether it be to specialise in barbering or just to up-skill and refresh as a qualified stylist. There is something for everyone, all with that boundless BIBA element of freedom and creativity.

Countless hours of prep and preparation were put into the creative visions and total look masterpieces and in many cases hairdressing fantasies were realized. The heartbeat of BIBA lies in the continual investment into the industry’s new blood, not just through both creative and technical brilliance but by leveraging stylists to an international standard.  With a prize pool like no other that included five trips to London to train at the Sassoon

Academy – the BIBA Next Level competition sets a benchmark for our industry’s training facilities to not just follow curriculum but to go above and beyond. It inspires stylists by reminding them of the reasons why they were attracted to hairdressing as their career.

“The quality of the work our students are producing just gets better and better and it was a very difficult process for our judges to score such a high standard – thanks to all our judges for the expertise,” said Simon Divitaris, BIBA Director and Educator.

With a free form judging criteria, judges had to score the overall look as well as the fusion of colour, technique and styling – and some very unique statements were made through total looks from punk, avant-garde, street to a smorgasbord of colour and texture.

“We were so thrilled to have such an amazing group of  leaders and experts in their field judge and be part of our competition and we really appreciated their support and expertise, it really shows how our industry can come together – it really means a lot and elevates our competition,” said BIBA Creative Director, Lyndal Salmon.

With six awards categories; Full Time Student Award, Academy RTO Apprentice Award, BIBA Styling Award, Master Colour Award, Barbering Award and BIBA Open Award, more than 50 stylists competed for the ultimate prize while enjoying the atmosphere of a street-party style catwalk at the BIBA Academy in Fitzroy and celebrating on the awards night at hip Fitzroy venue, Craft and Co.  We saw impeccable finishing and fashion styling and technical brilliance up there with some of the world’s biggest competitions – it was hard to believe many of these entrants were still students.

BIBA Academy Full Time Student Award:

Emma Tsipas image

Winner: Emma Tsipas, BIBA Northland

Runner Up: Tyler Lambkin

Encouragement Award: Maree Hajiantoni, BIBA Northland

BIBA ACADEMY RTO Apprentice Award:

Alex Cordell image

Winner: Alex Cordell, Rakis on Collins

Runner Up: Bianca Hillier, Zucci South Melbourne

Encouragement Award: Karlie Roberts Chumba Concept Salon 


Ben Russell image

Winner: Ben Russell, BIBA Gertrude Street

Runner Up:  Teagan Cousins, BIBA South Yarra

Encouragement Award: Cyc Viardot Ep Brie 


Krystal Appleton image

Winner: Krystal Appleton, BIBA Emporium

Runner Up: Rekha Kumar, BIBA Carlton

Encouragement Award: Lizzie Emery Kane and Cole


Bronson Cheong image

Winner: Bronson Cheong, BIBA Academy (p/t Fleet Street Barbers)

Runner Up:  Muammar Diedericks, Razorsmiths

Encouragement Award: Alex Menegola, Fleet Street Barbers 


Suetanya Grant image

Winner: Suetanya Grant, Joey Scandizzo Salon 

Runner Up: Markis Weisheim, BIBA Academy 

Encouragement Award: Ryan Brown, Joey Scandizzo Salon 

From at least 80 per cent hands-on learning to giving all levels of stylists a taste of what it’s like on the competition stage, Next Level is as much about encouragement as it is achievement – for if creativity does not get unleashed our industry will not continue to grow. “We thank Wella for their support in helping us to create this platform for our stylists,” Simon said.

Education need not be formulaic, boring and repetitive, BIBA proves it can be fun, involve some of the best tunes, pop corn and a street party while also taking you to London – what more could you ask for? We look forward to witnessing next year’s new crop of creative talents!

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