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Hair Stories No. 7

Last Sunday night, stylists from select salons across Chicago were invited to the Museum of Contemporary Art for an exclusive showing of Bumble and bumble’s Hair Stories No. 7.

Bumble and bumble’s Hair Stories No. 7 is difficult to encapsulate in a few words. Is it for salon insiders? Certainly. Will it make some people uncomfortable? Perhaps. Is it for every stylist everywhere? Yes. As it should be.
If you want the simplest description possible of Hair Stories No. 7, here it is-  a raw, complex look at Bb.On Tour and a piece that strives to distill 30+ years of Bumble and bumble culture, teachings and lessons into a 90 minute film.  Or, in Bb. VP, Senior Artistic Director Howard McLaren’s own words, “The guts of the Bb.On Tour creative process – the good, the bad and the really ugly. Every city taught lessons about more than hairdressing – about leadership, failure, planning, creativity and freedom, and the need for a great team (because that’s a tool you can’t sacrifice).”
Here are some more words from Howard McLaren.
You talk about leaving the film and its content intentionally raw.
H: Content is more powerful than anything else. It’s raw, yes, in the aspect that the reality of it, through interviews, feels genuine and honest. No overediting to make something it seem like there’s something that’s not there. It’s truly based on where we come from [at Bb.], editorial hairdressing, doing real fashion shows.
What are some those hard-earned lessons you picked up from the tour?

H: Hairdressing is in a place that’s going to have to pull itself up. There’s a lot of salons out there chasing $35 clients instead of $300 clients. Hairdressers need to become professional again. Teens these days are not going to salons- they’re cutting their own hair, learning from bloggers and websites. People are very educated these days and clients who do have the money are educated so, as a hairdresser, we have to step up.

I don’t see a lot of hairdressing brands supporting hairdressing salons to do that, to help them step up. They don’t really give anything that hairdressers can actually utilize- that lets them go back to the clients and command a higher price for their service. And people want service; they want luxury.

Tell us about your ongoing collaboration with Andreas and Salon Buzz.

H: Andreas let me come in and experiment with his brand. We spent 3 months interviewing all of his staff, it was really illuminating. With Andreas, you hire this assistant, she’s cutting hair for 5 yrs. And the questions don’t stop there- what’s she doing now? What are her goals? How do you keep the momentum going, how do you redirect what people want to do? What is she doesn’t want to do hair anymore?  Education could be someone going online and going to style.com and learning that way, making them go on their own. But Andreas sends people out.

Our work is about shared education. And it comes in so many different forms. Andreas is well into education; educating yourself and that’s what’s going to keep you on top. That’s what keeps him on top. And how do you attract new clients at the same time? Maybe by serving kids who live in Bucktown who won’t come over here; but they’ll come here if you give away free haircuts. Do that and maybe hairdressers will see what the kids in Bucktown are doing with their hair.  You can’t just be isolated in one area; you have to be aware of what’s going on around you.

I’m about change. As a hairdresser, I’m seeing the industry brutalized by these TV shows that undermine hairdressing as a profession.  There’s circus and then there’s theatre. They’re both entertainment, but which do you want to be in? The circus or the theatre? That’s what separates great brands from brands that just come and go.

Photo Credit: Bumble and bumble

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