Sarah Adams tells us all about FashioNXT, shows off the runway looks, and lets us take a peek behind the scenes.

“FashioNXT is a 4 day runway event in Portland Oregon. It has been acclaimed as the “Best show outside of NYFW” by Time Magazine. Written up in Vogue China, attended by MTV, the show elevates tech design, famous, and emerging designers. Big names in fashion such as Michael Costello, Walter Mendez, Seth Aaron, Michelle Lesniak, Viktor Luna have all shown at FashioNXT. My name is Sarah Adams, 2015 was my third year run as Key Hairstylist and Director of MUAH for FashioNXT.  This year alone we had 19 Designer shows and showed 15 different hair and makeup looks. I had a team of 15 stylists and 12 makeup artists, one assistant, one photographer and two videographers. With a lot of hard work and a little magic we make the runway shine for 4 whole nights.

It's not easy being the big cheese backstage and it is very expensive. Yes, expensive! Productions such as FashioNXT & NYFW etc all require money for production. Some show bids range from $10-$150,000 just to have the honor to bring your team to the show! When I put a bid in for the show, in order for it to be accepted, there has to be financial backing. I work very hard to secure sponsorship dollars throughout the year from the brands I want to work with and the stylists all pay a commitment fee to be on the team. For FashioNXT 2015, Kevin Murphy, local distributor Salon Services NW, and Balmain Hair Couture (hair pieces) were my brand sponsors. I also picked up personal sponsorships from my former beauty school Phagans, and Mercedes Benz Portland to help me fund the production.

Now for the creative. First I work with the fashion designers to see their creative vision. Then I meet with production to plan the run of the show. I make flow charts to design the hair to go from one style to another each night (sometimes 6 times) seamlessly and without compromising the integrity of the styles.  Each night the team arrives an hour early and I teach the looks and the changes. By night 4 we are exhausted and high on life. It really is a symphony of affairs backstage and a stylist experience of a lifetime.

Of course showtime is the best time...and the most stressful.  The one crucial element I will say in my job is to throw all my expectations out because I have to count on things changing. I ask my teams to do the same!  I’ve had designers change their mind at the very last second about their look. The designer is looking to relay an artistic vision to the audience and so it is very important that we get on the same page. Communication is crucial and staying cool can be really tough when their vision means I have to re-work the plan. All of the hard work comes to fruition when I see my team in full on work mode. I stand on the line to make final adjustments for the designers and the models STRUT. The day after the final after party, you would think I would be sleeping but I’m back at it again working on whatever project is next! “


Take a peek BTS and at the fabulous Runway looks...


Night 1

Photo of a model at a runway show

Photo of a model at a runway show

Photo of a model at a runway show


Photo of a model at a runway showPhoto of a model at a runway show

Photo of a model at a runway show

Night 2

Night 3



Night 4



Be sure to stalk the inspiring Sarah Adams on Bangstyle to keep up with all her latest looks!