Inspire! 2020 goes live

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Each year, the Freelance Hairdressers’ Association (FHA) hosts Inspire! – a day-long event for its members that brings together the freelance mobile hairdressing community with stage shows, education, inspiration, and networking.

Although coronavirus meant that this year’s event couldn’t go ahead in person, the FHA worked hard to ensure it could still take place – hosted live on Zoom; the video conferencing site that the FHA has been using for its regular member catchups.

As with the live event, Inspire! boasted a star-studded lineup of guests, representing friends of the FHA and its supporters, and covering all aspects of hairdressing for a truly diverse and inspirational day of education.

The morning opened with live demos of long hair from FHA honorary member, Patrick Cameron. He shared how lockdown had forced him to decide whether to, “retire or reinvent” – with reinvention winning out and his Education In Isolation weekly series going out to reach more than 300,000 hairdressers across the globe. Patrick also shared insights into dealing with social media trolls, his passion for education, pricing, and his love for the FHA. “Cut me and I bleed FHA,” he joked.

Patrick then went on to demonstrate some of his trademark bridal hair up styling, showcasing three looks from start to finish. In true Patrick style, the looks were all built around clear, easy-to-follow steps to demystify long hair and solid techniques that could serve as a starting point or base for any further looks. “As hairdressers, we’re all about communication,” said Patrick. “We’re passionate about staying connected and giving our very best to our community and clients” – and that’s certainly what Patrick demonstrated in his lively, interactive, informative session.

Next up was Alan Edwards for L’Oreal Professionnel presenting live cutting and colouring techniques to inspire ahead of reopening. Alan shared a series of looks based around techniques from his recent Contemporary Classics collection. Although built on similar methods, each of the five looks had a different result through the colour placement of his ‘Stardust’ technique. The finished result was a series of commercial textured asymmetric cuts, with colour palette choices inspired by David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust cover – the iconic zig-zag makeup was transformed for hair into a curved zig-zag panel, with three different colours applied to create results that ranged from strong and bold to soft and subtle. Alan got fingers twitching through his cutting techniques, with members desperate to get back behind the chair and put his methods to good use!

The third guest was Claire Jones, Regional Education Developer for Matrix. “I’m so excited to be at the forefront of this new way of learning,” she said. “This is the future and I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots more of this type of online education.”

For her session, Claire talked about the importance of a thorough consultation with every client – something that she says will be increasingly essential as hairdressers return to work post lockdown. During her fact-packed session, Claire talked about the science behind a consultation and product diagnosis, asking the right questions, and the importance of reiterating and being proud of your expertise with clients – you’re the expert, so don’t leave them to diagnose themselves in the supermarket; show what you know and analyse their hair properly to provide the perfect consultation and product choice.

Over lunch, Sheila was joined by a few special guests including Jez Barnett talking products and treatments, John Huscroft sharing some of his business insight on the future of the industry, Edward Hemmings talking about coming changes and education and Cath McGuinness from Wella Professionals sharing what’s new from the brand and their future plans for supporting freelancers.

The first session of the afternoon was from Peter Mellon, owner of Medusa salon in Scotland and Wella guest artist, joined by Wella Education Consultant, Jon Walker. Peter demonstrated a series of salon-friendly styles, before finishing with a more editorial look. He showed how he preps hair, before moving on to his expert techniques for tonging and setting the hair for lasting results as well as how to brush out hair with confidence for the perfect modern social-media-worthy waves. Peter finished with a wet-to-dry editorial chignon, perfect for photoshoots.

The final session of the day was hosted by Indola, with ambassadors Andy Smith and Paddy McDougall showcasing the brand’s Autumn 2020 StreetStyle Collection for the first time, joined by Technical Manager, Shayne Meadows. Andy and Paddy worked together to talk through the new collection, with mannequin heads pre-coloured by Paddy and sent to Andy to cut and finish live on the stream. Paddy talked through his panelling colour technique; a highly versatile method for creating personalised results demonstrated through accent panels in the collection. For Andy, the collection centred on tailored cuts with playful details styled with a sleek, rounded finish.

More than 200 hairdressers joined Inspire! online, with members and guests alike getting inspired by the day’s stream – and several viewers signing up to join the FHA after being motivated by the day!

Founder Sheila Abrahams says: “Inspire! 2020 was a phenomenal success and we are delighted that so many people joined us. I’d also like to extend a huge thank you to all of our supporters and guests for giving up their time to be a part of the day. One thing we’ve learned during lockdown is the importance of getting together to share, talk and stay connected – and Inspire! gave us all of that. We couldn’t be happier with how the day went and are excited to continue to build on its success with more online events and education to come.”