Arrojo Underground 2011

It's Monday night, and the crew at O2 Salon just got back from a spontaneous, one night trip to NYC. In 24 hours we managed to squeeze in delicious food, power shopping, dancing with drag queens, and most importantly, this year's Arrojo Underground event, hosted by, of course, the wonderful Nick Arrojo. Who is Nick Arrojo, you say? If you don't know, you bettah ask somebody foo'. Oh wait, you just did. In short, Nick is most widely known as the adorable British hair stylist from TV's "What Not to Wear." In the industry he is known for his innovative cutting (pulling from a background at Vidal Sassoon and changing the way we see the razor as a tool), and as an educator. The event was held at Arrojo Studios on Varick St, which is also home to the Arrojo cosmo school. The vibe in the studio is great- crisp, clean decor, past collections featured on the walls, and a little cafe in the waiting area for staff and clientele alike. To paraphrase Arrojo, the Underground event is a chance for his team to create collections based on what they feel are the looks of the future, and express their creativity. It's a chance to put hair first, before the rest of the fashion industry, giving complete control to the stylist(s). Pretty sweet, right? We viewed about 8 different collections last night, most of them created by teams, and all different and wonderful in their own right.



Pictured on the left- "Off Center". This collection of cuts was based on taking classic shapes, and moving partings slightly off center for a different take.




The stylist described this look as"kicking up the volume on a wearable NY style, and being inspired by the punk fashions of the 70's and 80's.  The texture was created through a set, involving a braided hairline, and twisted sections starting at the crown to create the flatness you can see throughout the top of the shape. I am a sucker for great texture, and I adore this shape. I think it's completely wearable for a night out, and I might have to steal this.



The collections pictured above, Nomadic, was in my opinion the most interesting as a whole. The team really wanted to demonstrate every aspect of hair dressing, creating pieces that highlighted color, cut, and styling work, all with a feeling of freedom. I thought that all but the "mohawk" style were absolutely STUNNING, and could easily be cuts and colors walking out the door of a salon, even ours in little ol' Maine . I am currently pining over this little lass with the copper hair (it must be mine) and the foil placements on the model with the incredible length as just gorgeous.While the model with the 'hawk was not doing much for my aesthetically, I was intrigued by the technique that went into creating the look.  The mohawk section is made up of both natural and synthetic hair, which is not a shock. What is , however, is that the brightly colored hair is not the synthetic. I wish that with this collection, more than the others, I had been able to see the foil placements for color.



The cutting highlight of the evening was definitely the counterparts collection. These cuts were created by  splitting the head into 2 sections (front and back) and using completely different methods in each section. One sections was cut very precisely and geometrically with shears, the other  was cut with a razor for a softer more textured look.  Probably sounds wretched,but these cuts were great. I really loved seeing that heavyline of the Vidal hayday meeting the shattered looks of now. Genius.




For me the last real standout was the "Unravel" collection, which worked with some really creative ways of using perms to create texture in the hair. The stylist who did the texture service worked with finger waves on both models, something I had never thought of, and was super passionate about texture coming back. The cuts both utilized undercutting, and I adore the triangular shape created on this model:




The show was a blast, and I'm stoked that we decided to take the trip down. Seeing the hard work put in by these stylists to create something that was completely their own was beyond inspiring, especially since some of the work was put out by apprentices. The experience definitely forced me to start thinking about how I can push myself to the next level in my craft, and I can't wait to start playing around with some new techniques. Plus, post show we all headed over to the Brooklyneer for a bevvy, where we met Nick , and yes, he is as darling face to face as he seems.