The Daily stopped by the gorgeous Moroccanoil Academy in Manhattan last week while hair guru Kevin Hughes was prepping his team for NYFW. The backstage mainstay tells us how he’s getting ready for the shows, and why he’s crazy for the new facility.
How do you prepare for NYFW?
It all begins when we start to hear from the designers. We like to get as much inspiration from them as possible. For example, with The Blonds, they’re super involved; they love hair and makeup. They’re always like, “This is what we’re thinking. What do you think?” I really appreciate that they take my thoughts into consideration. We just go back and forth and back and forth.
What are your biggest challenges during Fashion Week?
Understanding the designer’s vision, because their vision can change. Sometimes they begin one way and then they’ll change it over time. You have to always be really flexible and fluid and just go with it. With The Blonds last year, there were ornate headpieces and we put anchor braids in the hair and sewed them onto the head. Backstage, the piece that I had tried on wasn’t even in the show; they had all new pieces. I just had to go with it. The last-minute changes are the hardest parts. Every Fashion Week I’m like, “Oh, my God, why do I do this?” and then when the show starts, I’m like, “That was amazing!”
Do you get nervous during shows?
Absolutely. I think that’s good. It’s because I care and I want it to be amazing. I don’t want it to be like, “Oh, the hair was okay.” I want the hair to look beautiful. I represent this brand, so you know it has to be beautiful, healthy-looking hair. Fortunately, we’re usually able to do that, but it does keep me on my toes. I don’t take it for granted. I know how important [showing] is to designers. It’s their lives.
What Moroccanoil products do you tend to always use?
The Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray Strong is my No. 1 go-to. Just doing editorial hair and stuff, I need to be able to rake through the hair, redo it, and then reset it, restyle it without any flaking or residue. So that’s my go-to. I think that everyone should have an oil like our Moroccanoil Treatment Original. One of my newer favorite products is the Mending Infusion, which is a split-end mender. It mends split ends not mechanically, but visually. Those are my three main go-to products, but there’s more that I really love.
What classes do you teach at the Academy?
Anyone can go to moroccanoilprofessionals.com; there’s a list of all the classes, and what they entail and cost. Some are already sold out until later in the year. We have a backstage secrets class I do in February and September for NYFW. Stylists come in to train for everything they need to know for the mainstays of backstage, like a super-sleek, tight ponytail. I call it the perfect pony. I make them do it over and over again. I want them to be super confident. It’s not a photo shoot; it’s live, so it’s different from editorial. That’s one of our most popular classes. We also do a two-day, behind-the-lens class. The first day, you learn a lot of technique, the do’s and don’ts of on-set editorial work, and how to network, get with an agency, and put yourself out there. The second day we do a full-fledged photo shoot with a professional photographer and a team, to create looks for their portfolios. We also do a designer boot camp.
How did you feel the first time you saw the Academy?
When I came in after everything was finished, I felt proud. I’m proud to show people around, and proud for people to come. We’d love everybody to come and learn here. We tailor all the classes so that everybody gets the same information and gets it clearly and understands it. My favorite saying is “No man gets left behind.” I make sure that everybody is on the same page before we move forward. Moroccanoil Academy is not just for expert stylists, it’s not just for beginners, it’s for everyone. The space feels so welcoming. It’s like my own pied-à-terre in the city, except I don’t get to sleep overnight here. But I would!
School in session with Moroccanoil VP of Global Education, Robert Ham
How did the idea for the Academy come about?
It’s been a labor of love for more than five years. We want to have a dialogue with professional hairdressers, and give them a space where they can learn.
What are some of the classes?
Our education is divided into cutting and styling. We have our own cutting method, which we created a few years ago. This year, we’re launching a robust collection of business education. It’s on everybody’s mind right now, because it’s a hard world for the hairdresser to navigate with so many options. Hairdressers have stopped recommending products, but we want to recommend programs to help the stylists learn how they can counteract some of the online business. We’ll be having leadership programs. We dabble a little into social media and how salons can use social media to increase their business. We also have special workshops.
What’s in the pipeline next?
We have some cool launches coming in the next few years that are only for professionals, so when you have those types of products, you have a workshop where they can come and learn quality education.
Make sure to pick up your free copy of The Daily Front Row outside all the major shows today or read the full issue below.