All it took was one glimpse at James Abu Ulba's PARADIGM collection and we were hooked. We knew we HAD to learn more. Lucky for us, James agreed to let us pick his brain about his journey in the hair industry, from his first salon job at 16, to his current role as educator and Artistic Team Member for Davines. Check out our exclusive interview below, to learn more about the incredibly talented James, and what fuels his passion for hair.
Who do you consider to be the most influential person in your career so far?
It is not one person, but a team, named Allilon. Johnny Othona and Pedro Inchenko are the founders. I met them about 6 years ago, and from that moment on, the way I look at hair completely changed. Their philosophy connected with me on a deep level, which lead me to spend many weeks with them over the years for intensive one on one training. With out meeting them, I can say, that I would not be the hairdresser I am today.
Tell us about your favorite collection why was it your favorite?
My “PARADIGM” collection. It was a representation of the shift that had occurred within me. It was a collection based on feeling and emotion. The collection was shot over a few weeks, and some of those days I was in many different moods, experiencing different emotions. To harness that feeling and create a look specific to that, challenges you as an artists, and forces you to try something new. I still work with the “PARADIGM” mentality.
Why Davines? What do you love about the brand?
Each of has our own morals, ethics and beliefs that we live by. Many the same and some different, but none the less unique to us. In my personal and professional life, I strive to surround myself with people, businesses and products that share my belief system. I have worked with Davines for 16 years, and to this day, their belief system and mine co-exist beautifully. I believe that when you have this strong foundation of beliefs; the quality of your work and products transcend the status quo.
What trend would you like to see come back and why?
There isn’t one specific trend that I would like to see come back, well at least not the same as it was last time. I have been working a lot with “wet” looks. To me, it is a fresh texture that we just don’t see enough of. The catch: in order for the wet look to look beautiful, the haircut needs to be done exceptionally well.
When was the moment you knew styling has was the career for you? What other careers did you entertain?
Most of my life I thought I would be a pediatrician, however at the age of 16, I started working in a salon, and within a few months of that, my life was committed to this career. I haven’t looked back since. That is what I love about this industry. It finds you! FYI: I still work for the same company. Morals, beliefs, ethics.
When and where do you feel most inspired?
Where: London (there is something about the energy, people, fashion that becomes part of your. When: When I’m teaching, and sharing with people different ideas, methods or beliefs. Watch others learn and become successful, l truly inspires me.
Who is your style Icon? What would you say if you met them?
Angelo Seminara- I have had the privilege to meet him a few times. There was not one question but a conversation which allowed me to think about life a little differently.
What goals have you not yet reached?
There are many goals that I have not yet reached, that is why they are still my goals. That what keeps me going forward and never letting my self become stagnant or complacent.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Knowledge will be the key to your success. Find it, hunt it and take as much as you can. There is so much to learn, and then share it with others as fast as you can get it.
Be sure to Stalk James Abu Ulba to see the rest of his stunning PARADIGM collection.