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Energy fills the city as artists from all over the world convene in Las Vegas to celebrate art, as we know it. Walking around the lobbies, casino floors and Redken Gallerie, there is an excited vibe in the air as artists giddily reconnect over what they love the most – Redken! The only thing that trumps their passion is their appreciation for each other.

The appreciation stems from all aspects of the Redken tribe and is a common thread conveyed at the Opening Ceremony – a big thank you is given to the beautiful artists who make this all possible and it is evident that we are all here to Learn Better, Earn Better, and Live Best!

The Opening Ceremony on Sunday night is always a beautiful kick off for the events that are to come, and this year it is as grand as ever! While the dancers brought interest and the performers amazed, it was really the hair that stood out this year. Pivoting along with the music from Punk to Funk, Avant Garde and everything in between. Connecting each amazing set the audience was transported to New York, with the vantage point of sitting in the back of a taxi cab, as the driver chatted with the audience about life and what it used to be like, one thing in particular resonated “In my day, there used to be hairdressers, now they’re hairstylists... and they transform lives.” What became evident among the crowd was the simplistic truth that this statement spoke as it hit a cord in all of us. After a performance that definitely dazzled the eyes, stylists hit the town and then scurried to bed to get a good night’s rest for the day of classes ahead!


Image Credit: Murray Freestone


Image Credit: Connor Mason

Image Credit: Connor Mason

Image Credit: Connor Mason

With classes ranging from growing your business to grow your skill set, stylists are eager to learn!

Sam Villa’s classes excite the masses. There is just something about being in a room with him that inspires greatness. As you wait to go into his hands-on class you’ll find Sam outside class greeting his lovely students, taking selfies and interacting in genuine conversations. In his class, they learned not only a new cut, but also a new way of styling. We’ll be seeing organic texture created within cuts this year, which is why Villa concentrated on a Modern Shag look. Throughout his class, Sam echoes the solid advice that it is all about artists supporting artists. You shouldn’t criticize anyone’s work, because it is their own work of art and being an individual is what sets you apart as a stylist. Throughout learning the technical aspects of the cut, Villa discussed trends, tips and important life lessons.

Image Credit: Murray Freestone


Alongside teaching the students, Sam emphasized the importance of teaching your clients as well. You want clients to be curious! He offered up the advice of adding a bowl of bobby pins coated in Powder Grip 03 and a bowl of hair ties coated in Shine Flash 02. When they ask, explain to them how Powder Grip 03 + bobby pins add tack and will keep them from slipping, while Shine Flash 02 + hair ties will add shine to the cuticle when pulling hair back. This will add value and a lasting connection with your clients!

Next up, a dose of color – the Hollywood way.

Tracey Cunningham always delights. Not only does her color (and clientele list) make us all weak in the knees, but also her humor and utter candidness pave the way towards worshiping her every move. She delivered sound advice about color, placement and her favorite tips and tricks for getting the perfect highlights on brunettes, and also offered up sound advice about life in general. When asked about work/life balance and what it is like to try and be a career woman and start a family, she admitted that when she was younger she “looked to people that were successful, instead she should have looked to people who were happy,” and she realized that she might have missed the mark on her direction. It is, in fact, not easy to be a wife, a mother, and a career woman, but if you put your mind to it you can prove to the world that you can do it all. Admitting that it isn’t always easy was exactly what we all needed to hear.

As the first day wraps and stylists are gushing about all they’ve learned up and down the hallways, everyone heads to their rooms to get ready. There is another exciting event… the Monday Night Bash!

This year, there was a Festival theme echoed throughout the entire event and the Monday Night Bash is celebrating this in style. From opening up the floor to staging an Airstream trailer styling bar amidst the crowd, festivalgoers were encouraged to don their best #RedkenFest attire. Instead of just one headliner this year, fans enjoyed music from a plethora of genres spanning all generations. From a Britney Spears impersonator to Dolly Parton, there was music for everyone. Opening the fest, DJ Dazzle, aka Redken VP of Education Worldwide, Sheri Doss turned it up by playing a DJ set.  


The final act? En Vogue put on a stellar show. They performed some of their fan favorites “Free Your Mind”, "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)", “Don’t Let Go” and they also performed “Rocket” from their latest album Electric Guest.  The amazing live music performances were the greatest way to celebrate everything learned so far and to get excited for a final day of classes.

Image Credit: Murray Freestone


Dipping our toes into the world of fashion, the ever-inspiring Rodney Cutler was a class not to be missed. In a panel with Haley Schluter, Stylist Rodney Cutler, Designer Claudia Li, and Beauty Editor Maureen Sheen they gave us a sneak peek behind the scenes of just what it is like to find yourself backstage at fashion week. As we are on the heels of Fashion Week, this was an exciting class to find yourself in. Rodney always speaks so effortlessly about his role in the industry and exactly how he got there, always remaining humble – which, in his mind, is the key to success.

Rodney discussed the importance of longevity within the industry and the importance of partnering with brands and people to get you to where you want to be.

When it comes to fashion week, in particular, he advised that you cultivate lasting relationships with your team as well as the designer and really get to know their style and aesthetic, because it’s all about trust! On his opinion of growing your skillset and working Fashion Week, he went on to say, “Our job at fashion week is about doing great hair, but in a way that showcases fashion, and that means checking your ego at the door.”

Creating hair for a fashion show is a process. Rodney was behind the chair for 10 years before dipping his toes into the world of fashion and editorial, but he finds that he is always learning from those around him. On solid advice he received backstage from Trevor Sorbie when it comes to creativity, you have to do your research. It’s ok if you’re not creative, don’t be intimidated, it’s a process.

When you work with a designer, you might only have a week or two before the show to meet with them and discuss your ideas for the hair. It is a great idea to have options going into it, but be open to pivot where necessary. Looks are more and more individualized than ever and you need to make sure that you are complimenting the designer and their work.

When it comes to inspiration, Claudia Li notes that as a Designer, “We have a vision for the beauty aspects as well, however, we are looking for someone to guide us. We need someone to understand our needs and make suggestions.” More than just the looks, Maureen Sheen adds that “beauty editors are looking for the story,” which is why you need an interest in hair and alternating looks to push the envelope.

As a stylist, the next great thing you should do is create consistency. First, create consistency in your work, and then consistency within your team. As you grow, you’ll want to grow a team around you as well – one that works together to elevate your process. When asked about making mistakes backstage and knowing how to fix them, Rodney agreed that when you make mistakes, the great thing is that you’re part of a team and you help each other find solutions, you just need to be sure to communicate. The hardest part can be getting over your biggest fears, but do the proper prep work and have some confidence – because it is the confidence that has already got you there.  For those of you looking to grow your Fashion Week portfolio, you should reach out to artists doing what you want to do. Start doing what you love most, even if that means volunteering your time.

Fashion Week hair isn't just about the cut or the style, the color plays a large role in it as well. It can really convey the underlying tones the designer’s vision. For example, adding highlights or a face frame to warm looks up for summer or accentuate tones of a collection.  

What we can look forward to this season? We’ll be seeing an influx of dusty pastels this season. We saw this a bit last season with the tones Redken Global Creative Director Guido Palau created at the Marc Jacobs SS19 show. We’ll be seeing those tones shine through again this season. Another great trend we’ll see is the bob, but with a rounder shape and more texture. It’s a revival of 60s mod, so floral accessories will be everywhere!

When asked about translating looks from the Runway to the Salon, Rodney talked about finding a common thread between the trends. Looking at everything that is coming down the runway and putting your own spin on it. Just as they, as Creative Directors, put their spin on the looks seen behind the runway you must create your own style. “Don’t think of it as a trend, think of it as a story, and what role that hair plays in the story,” says Cutler.

Just as hair plays a story, as a stylist you are constantly creating and redefining your own story and therefore your vision.  This sentiment comes front and center at every turn; Symposium is all about growing as a stylist and as a salon. Picking up the tools to help you learn, earn and live better by gaining advice from industry leaders in color, styling, and business. We would love to hear about what you loved most about Symposium this year in the comments below! If you missed it, be sure to add this to your bucket list in 2021, it is an educational event not to be missed!

Be sure to follow @Redken on social media for the latest updates and tag us in your fashion-forward looks!