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The Wrap: Redken Get Inspired 2017

Walk into the halls at the Peninsula, Docklands, Melbourne last week and you were invited to the city’s hottest club. Yes, that club was a three-day event dedicated to hair education and packed with 500 hairdressers, but just because education was front of mind, didn’t mean this wasn’t going to be a party. It was the dual practices of learning, networking and celebrating that made Redken Get Inspired an event unlike any other, with local and international hairdressers presenting important techniques, new innovations and inspiring looks, and dynamic night-time events making it a non-stop affair. As the invigorated cohort quickly learned, sleep is for the weak.

With a title as bold as Get Inspired, the brand is making an implicit promise to deliver on, and there was no question that attendees would be motivated and enthralled from night one. Artists started each session, night and day, with the requisite dance, ensuring all attendees were out of their seats, dancing and clapping before any learning could take place.

The inimitable line-up produced a number of high-profile names to lead the proceedings from local Redken Artists including Australian hairdressers Justin Pace, Dmitri Papas, John Pulitano, Vincent Nobile, Philip Barwick, Richard Kavanagh, Rachel Busby and Kristy Hodgson, and New Zealand’s Mana Dave, Tim Riwhi and Tony Elwin. International guest artists included Lori Zabel from the US and Adam Browne from the UK.

The opening party started with a show centred both on Redken’s global impact and its new City Beats colour collection. Rallying the inimitable Redken team to the frenetic backstage scene, the team created a range of looks based on four major cities. For London, think edgy, cool, punk rock street style you would expect to find in the trendy city. For Tokyo, pops of colour, cute, fun and quirky hair and fashion, crazy dance routines and a Harajuku-inspired show overall. For New York, it was a mixture of urban style and decadence, as led in by an impressive breakdancing troupe, with hair and fashion dually high class and hip hop as an ode to world’s greatest concrete jungle. Lastly, Los Angeles was a festival dream, comprised of flowing locks and floral patterns, covetable braids and high quality hair. For each segment, a runway show, performance and live hair styling session, all built around thematic hair and fashion, transported attendees to those cities, if only just for a moment, sending a strong message about Redken’s artistry, creativity and skill.

Despite the drinks, canapés and music offered next door for attendees to take part in, those same attendees still rocked up bright and early on the Monday for a full day of colour and style education. There was no better way to start than with the Young Tribe, who shared their looks live before the announcement of the 2018 crop, with both groups on stage to pass the metaphorical baton. The seven 2017 artists created bold looks with techniques such as colour variation and colour melting, with hero looks include a dreamy pink hue (think rosé) worn with a figure eight braid, a woolen texture created with complex meshing and a bold style inspired by the 70s and Studio 54.

After this aesthetic inspiration, it was time to feed the soul, with a seminar from Paul Frasca of Sustainable Salons Australia (SSA). Paul gave a history of the SSA initiative, and their ethos surrounding people, planet and profit. He spoke about the organisation’s great work with ponytail donation, the recycling of paper, waste and aluminum, and their use of hair to soak up oil spills, with the group working to benefit salons and help the earth.

From there, it was back to hair demonstrations, this time focused on blonde. Sheree Knobel and her Bixie Colour team led the Build Your Blonde Business session, speaking about how to create your target demographic in the salon, the benefits of working with influencers and secrets to their impressive social media activity that has amassed over 50,000 Instagram followers and plenty of clients as well. The team created healthy, effortless blonde hair consisting of depth and variation, working within the philosophies that less is more and condition is paramount in their signature lists of services, from root shadow to faux foils, free hand painting, textured waves and signature cuts.

After lunch, the focus was on colour, with the City Beats seminar bringing separate sessions of artists on stage to inspire the audience. Major insights included the ability to utilise colour in a similar way to how hairdressers use cut and style, colouring the hair to create shape and softness. The impressive teams on stage taught the audience about the City Beats hues, as well as the Blur Brush and upcoming Edging Brush, and then put these tools into action, creating hidden rainbow colours and championing versatile, multi-dimensional colour, while also espousing life lessons, such as the need for hairdressers to support each other. Preach!

The afternoon gave way to the legendary Super Styling segment, where Redken’s famous session styling artists were back on stage and in their element. The group created a myriad of looks, from men’s hair, to graduated cuts, shaggy haircuts and texturised cuts. Three of the biggest names in the industry (Richard Kavanagh, Philip Barwick and John Pulitano) created three looks each, using techniques such as hair weaving, dramatic upstyling with complex pinning techniques, and interesting twisted shapes. Taking inspiration from various international runway shows (recent stints in Milan and New Zealand brought particular recognition), the team continued the theme of global style.

Ending the day on a high note was a runway show in collaboration with Headmasters. The futuristic, conceptual show, styled in white and filled with complex braiding, gold foil and thread in the hair, men’s hair and vivid hues, enthralled the audience.

Attendees had just a couple of hours before the party was back on, with the Redken Half Pipe Party taking place at Alumbra further down the dock. Drinks and canapes (we’re still dreaming about those mac and cheese croquette bites) served on skate boards and a pumping dance floor with everyone’s favourite hip hop tunes kept to the theme, and the attendees delivered as well. Guests turned up in sneakers, hoodies and even helmets and kneepads to take full advantage of the skater vibe.

The final day was dedicated to cut and colour, with two different sessions (Hi-Def and Cool Running) each presenting dual segments, first colour, then design, before insightful question and answer segments and all-encompassing runway shows. Top takeaways included practical insights – such as completing 20 minute colours, shaping wild curly hair, removing bulk, seamless layering, dry haircuts, sweeping balayage techniques and colour gliding. The speakers also touched on more broad topics, such as the importance of seeing the client in context and forcing yourself to step back and consider the client as a whole. Audience members reveled in discovering key tips, such as the secret to over-directing the hair so colour sits higher, and how to hold the brush as an extension of your hand. Meanwhile looks such as a rockabilly pompadour style, a technical ponytail using gel with thick hair, and a covetable curly hair look provided aesthetic inspiration. The team also walked through Redken’s language around colour, describing different colour looks as hues that whisper, talk and shout. With this mantra, they encouraged the audience to find their own creative voices.

With the proceedings over and many attendees staying to network or rushing back to their interstate salons, there was only one official goodbye that could do the three intense days of education and artistry justice. Every attendee came down to the floor and put their hands in for a massive group huddle and cheer of ‘Get Inspired’, celebrating the brand and the experience for its intensity, impact and inspiration.

“Two years ago we sat around a dinner table with our Redken artists and a dream of hosting a local event with an international flavour was born,” explained Redken Australia General Manager Erwin Santos. “Obstacles aside, we knew that we could rely on the resilience of our esteemed Artists and the support of Australian hairdressers to pull this off. Three days of world-class, Redken Inspired education delivered by Artists that ignite innovation not only across the brand, but also across the industry.”

“Keeping true to our Redken DNA, Fashion, Science & Inspiration, the Redken tribe delivered,” he continued. “As General Manager for Redken Australia, I can honestly say that this was one of the proudest moments during my 15 year career at L’Oréal.”

Erwin Santos

Consider the implicit promise of Get Inspired delivered upon, as hairdressers left the Docklands with a multitude of techniques to utilise, products to master, looks to emulate and ideas to put into practice. With a seamless mix of education and entertainment, attendees were reminded why being a part of the Redken local and global club is worth the entry. We’ll be lining up again next year.

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