Have you ever dreamt of working backstage and styling hair for Fashion Week?
Celebrity hairdresser Aubrey Loots travelled to Toronto on June 23 to 24 to share his wealth of editorial hair knowledge in Aubrey Loots’ Backstage Pass, a two-day workshop hosted by Wella Professionals at their Toronto studio.
Not only does the hands-on seminar teach the necessary skills and techniques for working at Fashion Week, but all attendees have a chance to be selected by Loots to work backstage at an upcoming Fashion Week or red-carpet event.
Day one of the workshop consists of hands-on work with mannequin heads, with Loots leading the class by teaching his signature editorial hair techniques. The following day, attendees are put to the test—working in teams of two with live models, in which hair is styled for a mini runway show and photo shoot. Each team is required to work under space and time restraints to simulate a true backstage experience at Fashion Week.
Originally from South Africa, Loots is a global artist for Wella and is based in Los Angeles. He has worked on hundreds of shows at fashion weeks around the world and has also had the opportunity to work on numerous awards show red carpets, including the 2019 Academy Awards.
“The number one thing people ask me is, ‘How do I get in?’ or ‘How do I do it?’ Unfortunately, the whole Fashion Week scene is a bit of a tight-knit community,” he says. “I wanted to create a workshop to give people the opportunity so they can get themselves to Paris, Africa, London, Milan, New York, or wherever we do shows, and I will put them on my team for that experience.”
Loots says the purpose of the workshop is to give people the confidence and skills to work at Fashion Week. “If you have confidence, you can conquer the world,” he says. “I’ve had people take the workshop who weren’t confident in themselves or in their styling. They’ve written us letters to say how incredible it’s been. It gives them the technical skills, while also giving us the opportunity to see where people’s strengths and weaknesses lie. We all have them; I have them, too. We develop their weaknesses and hone in on their strengths, and take them to the next level.”
As for his advice on getting your foot in the door at Fashion Week: “Keep knocking on doors and never take no for an answer,” says Loots. “The people that told me no are the ones that gave me strength to keep pushing.”
“Grab some friends and a model and do a photo shoot—I used to do that so much. It’s a great platform to try things that you may not be able to try on a professional shoot or a professional show,” he adds. “I’ve done a lot of free work in my life. Don’t shy away from it. To get into fashion week, you can either do a workshop like this or you call people on lead shows and ask if you can assist them for a while and learn from them. A lot of stylists are open to that.”
Did you know? Loots’ must-haves when working backstage at Fashion Week are a working hairspray and dry texture spray. “You can mold the hair and get the hair “wet” with a working hairspray and pump up the volume and integrate texture with a dry texture spray.”