You’ll never feel quite as confident in the future of the industry as you do walking out of the inspiring GenNext Gala at Hair Expo – and this year’s show was no different. Eight talented young teams put on their own creative, conceptual performances, in a night sponsored by Matrix and INSTYLE, and capped off with a bold Matrix Playground show. The message was clear – if this is the beginning of some very promising roads for these skillful young hairdressers, and Matrix Playground represents just how much can be accomplished in artistic hair, their journeys will be worth following.

Uros Mikic for Matrix Playground

The night was compered by the always-hilarious Richard Reid and 2018 Educator of the Year Jules Tognini, who each had the audience laughing through dance competitions, interviews, selfies and more. INSTYLE’s own Cameron Pine also took to the stage to speak about why we value our continued sponsorship with the event, as a publication that is wholly dedicated to the continued growth and improvement of the industry.

Beginning the night was the Box Hill Institute, who presented a scintillating, flame themed show titled Kabuki. With high hair strictures and a unique Avant Garde hair aesthetic, the show utilised a bold black and orange fashion collection and a backdrop of rollicking flames to show off creative hair fashion from a burning ring of fire.

Next on stage was the work of Ibiza Hair, accompanied by some very impressive Harley Davidsons and some punk rock, gender bending hair and fashion in Youth Undecided. Walking to the sounds of Nirvana and pairing black and bold printed fashion with London-style, punk rock androgynous hair, the show captured underground youth culture perfectly.

The third show came courtesy of M Collective, who’s storybook-esque Patchwork Angel presentation included live hair styling and calming narration, with floating balloons, romantic, almost Victorian-era hair – but at it’s most Avant Garde, and colourful. Mixing the best of old and new timelines made for an eclectic and enthralling show.

The fourth show was an international offering, courtesy of The Masters Institute of Creative Education Program Korean Artists and their Co-Lab show. Largely clad in black with bold orange accents, the focus was on artistic hair, with dual-tone details, big hair structures and textures and an urban cityscape backdrop that drew you into an entirely new world dominated by bold hair creation.

The next show was delivered by the NZ New Generation team – welcome the very thematic OBEAH, which had models in old-school, black and white lacey garb, with white skin and heavy black eye makeup presenting you with something of a witch’s coven. Reminding viewers of The Blair Witch Coven while presenting creative long hair and hair pieces within the chilling theme, the show inspired and terrified in equal measure.

The sixth show was a fashion-forward runway presentation courtesy of Revolution Hairdressing, who’s creations ran the gamut from stylish looks ideal for the runways of London or New York Fashion Weeks, to more creative explosions of glitter, gel and colour. Diversity was key in a runway show unlike anything you’ve witnessed before.

The seventh show was another international foray, with the UK FAME Team, in collaboration with BaByliss PRO, bringing us straight into the London fashion scene, but pushing that to another extreme, with fashion savvy looks that turned catwalk creativity up a notch. Their punk style Misfits show encapsulated the type of creativity and bold hair work that our neighbours are creating across the pond.

The last team of emerging hair artists was the Matrix Hot Shots contingent, whose colourful House of Talent provided a precursor for the final Playground show to come. Hair and fashion styling in every vibrant hue was present, including a big, bright pink hair look that provided something of a hero. Clashing colours and rainbow style was the theme for this playful and very fun explosion of creative and colourful hair fashion.

Kobi Bokshish Matrix Playground

The grand finale came courtesy of the Matrix Playground team, showing the kids what’s to come and how it’s done with the inspirational work of Uros Mikic, Kobi Bokshish, Adam Ciaccia, Stevie Corthine, Mat Johnson and Paul Ricupito. Their show was a journey with live hair cutting and clipper work that saw mounds of colourful hair cut and sheared onto the stage. A live dance portion had the show in full party mode, while runway presentation in different themes of metallic (that is, in clothes, hair and makeup) and pure, uninhibited colour inspired across the spectrum. In keeping with Matrix’s expo theme, of course there was a hair look adorned by rubber ducks. This was a show to ignite the creative impulses in every student and audience member.

Matrix Playground

Guests left invigorated, inspired and very ready for the Matrix after party at Club 23 next door. The future of our industry is truly in creative, audacious and fun-loving hands. Guided by brands such as Matrix, there are no barriers that can’t be broken in our hair community’s search for inspiration.

For more information visit