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Each year, Bangstyle is thrilled to feature the finalists in each NAHA category. Keep reading to learn more about the artists whose work was selected in the Master Hairstylist of the Year category for 2020!

Chris Baran

Photographer: Babak

Makeup Artist: ML & J Team

Wardrobe Stylists: Pascal & Jeremie

Throughout his career, and especially through this collection, Chris Baran has proven his ability to keep his unique perspective. Truly magnificent works of art, his creations delight the eye and leave us craving more. The only question it begs is: what can't Chris Baran do? From his ability to transform his work throughout his career to his expertise in educating an inspiring an entire industry, he is truly an icon. Keep scrolling to see his remarkable collection and hear more about the process of creating it from Chris himself. 

What was the inspiration behind each collection? 

CB: Hair is my vocation and my avocation. The remaining time it’s my hobby. If I had the time to do things other than hair, I would want to sculpt. Creating shapes that represent a feeling or an idea has always intrigued me. So, when I saw a picture of scattered pic up sticks. I wanted to attempt it in a 3-dimentional form. I wanted it to look random, scattered, and not making sense in so far as the placement order, yet be balanced when you looked at its totality. You can see that in the two “pick up stick” representations. 

After creating the two of them, I wanted to switch mediums to a larger gauge dowelling. From there it migrated from disorganize (pink and yellow) to sketching the shapes prior to create a specific silhouette. 

Tell us more about you as an artist and how your work has changed over the years.

CB: Interesting question! I’d say it’s evolved more due to my belief system than choice. I believe that if you hold onto a thought, idea or concept too long and don’t share it, the obsession overwhelms you while you try to hide the secret. I believe that if you give the idea or piece of knowledge away, the universe rewards you with an even better idea. 

Over the last 50 years, my path started out as the haircut dude in the 60s to the avant garde guy in the 70s, to the color guy, Perm guy (80s), back to the cut guy and now back to the AG guy and mentor dude. Full circle?

What did you learn about yourself through competitions such as NAHA?

CB: Persistence, patience, pushing through self-doubt, acceptance of the fact your idea may not turn out exactly as you saw it, but it’s OK where it ended up.

What was your biggest focus with each style?

CB: I’m not sure if it was the biggest focus but, while my eyes were 5-6 inches away from the work, the hardest thing to focus on was keeping a 10-foot perspective. From a distance, was I maintaining the shape and balance.

What was your favorite part about the shoot?

CB: Collaborating with the team, Suzanne Sturm has such an amazing eye, Jeremie and Pascal have this amazing eye on concept of clothing and help with R&D. Marie Laure does an incredible face. And what I love about working with Babak (photographer) is that he tells you right up front whether the shot is going to work or what you should do to change. LOVE THIS TEAM.

What are you looking forward to most about NAHA 2019?!

CB: Hanging out with a bunch of damn cool hairdressers, all of whom deserve to win. Maybe a glass of red wine or two to chill the nerves. One thing that I’ve learned, is never write an acceptance speech. Every time I did, I lost. And believe me, that was more times than I won.

How much prep time went into each collection?

CB: the Masters collection took months in it’s totality. Not including conceptualizing or prepping, the building of the “Stix” pieces alone took probably 400 hours. I hand made the wigs for the Haircutting collection so probably an additional 30 – 40 hours because I shot five looks to get the best three.

Your Master collection is absolutely stunning – can you give any insight into how these were created?

CB: Imagine over 3,000 dowels, 4 electric pencil sharpeners, creating Styrofoam helmets, 4 glue guns, 50+ cans of spray paint and 10 Teflon fingers. 

The construction was a super interesting learning experience. Firstly burning out 4 electric pencil sharpeners on the dowelling. Creating the ‘Balayage’ color effect was done en-masse, yet each stick had to be individually retouched after it was cut.  Each piece took from 4-6 days (my days 10 – 11 hours) to make. For the large-gauge pieces, I had to use an awl to get the exact angle in the foam, cut the piece to size, repaint each piece and glue into place. If anyone needs therapy, I can recommend this to under-water spoon bending.

Ruth Roche

Photographer: Babak

Makeup Artist: Marie Laure Larrieu & team

Hair Stylist: Pascal & Jeremie

Ruth Roche's Master Hairstylist of the Year collection proves the connection between color and styling and the importance of each. Juxtaposing eachother, her collection is high impact, bold, and is as suggestive of emotion as it is of the latest trends. Learn more as Ruth speaks to her experience creating this collection as well as entering NAHA! 

What was the inspiration behind each collection?

Mike Ruiz and I wanted to do something very sculptural, focusing on very strong shapes. Smooth, sleek and shiny. Each shape had to stand on its own, but also work as a collection.

Tell us more about you as an artist and how your work has changed over the years and through this competition.

I look at entering NAHA as a creative kick in the butt. It pushes me to create something that may never happen otherwise. It's a deadline. You HAVE to get your '*#$& together. We are all so busy it easy to keep saying "I'll enter next year" and next year never comes. SO I have learned that even if I don't think I have an idea, to put a shoot date on the calendar. Knowing that I have committed to a date starts the ideas moving. Sometimes I panic if I don't come up with something right away, but it always works out. And I only work with people who I connect with. You have to really work as a team.

There are many years I did not enter at all, years where I entered but did not become a finalist, years where I became a finalist but did not win, and some that I did win! Although the hope is to win, that's not always the reality. What you DO get is a collection, that YOU created, that you will have forever. Much of the work in my portfolio are collections, winning and not, from NAHA entries. The collective body of work is great to see your own growth, and how you continue to evolve.

What did you learn about yourself through creating these collections?

I am so grateful to have had Trevor Sorbie and Vivienne Mackinder fas my mentors. They shared their magic hands and taught me how to dress hair. I also learned that there are failures in the creative process, but you keep trying. And many times something better happens than what you planned.

What was your biggest challenge/greatest accomplishment?

The biggest challenge was figuring out how to create the volume of the shapes in the Editorial collection. And that will remain a mystery lol! You have to have a bit of a mad scientist or engineer in you sometimes! Some nails, some glue ...

Were there any products/tools that were key to getting the looks?

An electric carving knife, Redken Guts10, Mason Pearson Brush!

What other forms of art inspire you?

I am a painter. I do large canvases, usually flowers, sometimes fruit, a few vegetables and one goat!

How does it feel to be nominated in 2 categories!?

Amazing. An honor.