Finishing off a five city tour, Matrix Playground in its third year has hairdressers from every corner of our industry looking on – with more than 550 people at the Melbourne show, guests were transported into the Matrix culture like no other, writes Cameron Pine.

With a bevy of talent in a room – free of ego’s or solely brand-directed content you can achieve some pretty great things – an inertia in the industry that’s built year on year as the playground talent pool continues to grow – this year joined by Kobi Bokshish as a new Matrix Artistic Team Member.

Each member of the Playground team brought not only their starry eyed industry passion to the stage, but a different set of very different skills from avant garde, to men’s, colour and commercial cool – there’s a visible reason why Matrix is a growing brand in our industry. Featuring Mat Johnson, Andrea De Deugd, Simone Lee, Stevie Corthine, Adam Ciaccia, Uros Mikic (Matrix Creative Director) alongside Kobi Bokshish  – Playground was a playful talent pool of almost imaginary proportions.

Always adding new elements to the education meets entertainment repertoire – the best way to learn is by having fun. And fun they had – with Melbourne being one of the best audience’s among the states, the mood was set for a night of learning and long-awaited conversations. Sydney, while also an impressive turnout was a tougher crowd – but that’s just Sydney. The real level of commitment also came from people outside of major cities travelling hours to be part of the action. With positive feedback from each and every event, the turning point is the overall effect it has on our industry and with Playground it’s truly tangible.

Glass of vino in hand, guests were able to witness what creativity really means while learning the best salon ready tips for the continually hot Colour Melting trend – the latest cuts and how to turn your salon work into social media drawcards. Creativity is at the core of the craft and both Andrea and Kobi took their editorial and unique techniques to new heights for maximum impact on-stage. There was something for every hairdresser proving true visibility in the industry for a range of salons – especially with traditional upper echelon salons taking on a brand that was once not considered premium, now having re-instated it’s persona as a family with great quality products and an army of inspiration and education at its core. Superiority aside, for a salon with passion and one that celebrates cultural diversity within our industry, it’s hard to go past Matrix and a platform like Matrix Playground.

Having helped design the format of Matrix Playground from its early days as just an idea for jamming onstage, Matrix Creative Director Uros Mikic prides the concept on their ‘no ego policy’ – gaining more hairdressers on board each year and developing each other collectively. There wasn’t even an opportunity for any particular artist to steal the show – each was a strongpoint and together the power of that is unstoppable.

Before embarking on the Matrix Playground journey, the artists had a brand conference to really hone each other’s strengths. “As a result Adam did a lot of cutting – he’s a real cutting expert and Kobi did more crazy cool hair that pushes the limits of edgy a bit more,” Uros said.

“Culture is a big thing for us – the audience has to see the individual’s strength but we come together on stage to really push each other. It’s about sharing knowledge and not just about the education – it’s about the collaboration,” he said.

Seeing an increase in audience numbers each year – Melbourne had closer to 550 people, with an overall 1800 people on the tour, it’s no wonder Matrix is cited as the salon brand that unites not divides. Teamwork is the backbone of a creative culture – proving no individual in the world can achieve without the right people behind them.

With awarded Colorist and the man responsible for many of Matrix’s Global Imagery, Stevie Corthine, there was no better person to dissect leading techniques of the Color Melting craze. Taking paint to paper just like Picasso to better emphasize the true Color Melting technique, Stevie weaved in and out of the stage artists to bring to life colour and commercial creativity. The Color Melting technique creates a seamless transition between two or more colours, allowing new shades to reflect from varying perspectives – perfectly encompassing what today’s clients wants and we’re not just talking about a seamless transition from trend to trend. Onstage, from avant-garde to editorial eye-catching colours – hairdressing collided with entertainment, and there was a different hue at every turn. From pearl to iridescent pink, blue to green – a kaleidoscope of effects defined the night.

“My favourite thing about Matrix Playground is that I am able to be genuine and authentic while talking about the colour that I love to create using the incredible Matrix colour palette,” Stevie said.“Working with other Matrix Artists is truly rewarding – we all have our own strengths but work together amazingly well. I think our genuine friendship keeps our shows engaging and real.”

Its little wonder hairdressers from all salons and many different brands have noticed the Playground buzz. 2018 is yet to be decided but as Uros says, ‘We will soon brainstorm where to go with 2018 and whether we continue to expand the event and what we can do to make it fresh, inspiring and ultimately a very strong part of the Matrix family.”

Fittingly, the show was titled, Spellbound – the culmination of a high-energy tour was really about people coming together and not just artists on a stage. The brand’s ability to merge street-cred, salon trends with bold, unique and Avant Garde hair education with music, costumes and performance elements, creates not just a conversation reference for all attendees, but a reason to be part of a brand – not just for themselves but for the overall betterment of the industry.

That’s the Matrix difference.

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