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Think Zink: Creativity Rises to the Challenge of a Magazine Shoot

Sam Villa

Author Sam Villa | Founding Partner of Sam Villa

Sometimes a wonderful opportunity comes along and I’m asked to do a photo shoot. About a year ago Emmanuel New York Models contacted me about submitting some work to Zink, a fashion-forward magazine that’s a great resource for hairdressers because it makes you think a little differently. I’d be working with Xander Angeles, a highly respected photographer who shoots for Vogue and other publications. I’d collaborated with Xander before, so I knew I would find a lot of satisfaction in the creative process and the quality of the product. I couldn’t wait to get started!

About three months ahead, Xander and I met to exchange ideas for the shoot, titled “Vernal Encounters.” Right now fashion is mixing textures, so we decided to present opposing textures and elements like light and darkness. Instead of colliding, they would blend and become very soft to the eye, with two people representing one. We were going for a great sense of character, a great sense of attitude. Xander saw the set and lighting as ethereal and foggy, and I knew exactly how I would intermix unconventional textures in the hair. Selecting the right models was really important, and we were lucky enough to get two perfect models who mirrored each other.

During the three months that followed, I prepared for the shoot by practicing the looks on mannequins. I made sure that the textures were going to jive and I wouldn’t run into any bumps on the day of the shoot. How much volume did I want? Should I run my hands through the hair? Those answers come out in the practice. Often you do hit a bump. When something you’ve planned isn’t working, you have to know when to keep trying and when you just need to make a left turn and go in the new direction. That’s where creativity really starts to happen! So I practiced until I was comfortable, and then I practiced more to see whether something would happen to take me to a new place. Altogether, I devoted at least 24 hours to rehearsing the looks for this shoot.

We can think of hair as an accessory, so the other thing I did in advance was to create pinwheel hairpieces from contrasting colors of black and white. To make the pinwheels, I wrapped together two weft sections, sprayed them with Redken’s Forceful 23 Hair Spray to make the pinwheels stick together and, after they dried, sewed them together. This created a head scarf, sort of like the ones they wore in the 1910s or 1920s with hair sticking out of the back. At the shoot, I pinned the headpieces onto the models’ heads for some of the photos. It introduced an avant-garde, fantasy element.

Zink Mag ModelFor most of the shoot, though, we didn’t use any extensions or pieces. I was working with a crimped look that reaches back to the late 1970s but gets a fresh appearance from using a mini-crimp rather than a wide crimp iron. The crimp looks soft to the touch; it’s hidden underneath for texture and casual volume, so you really don’t see it at all until you get up close. That’s when the character speaks loudly and the attitude stands out! I also fashioned some updo’s to present the crimped volume in a different way.

Hairdressers like to know how everything is created, so I'll tell you! Before crimping, I prepped the hair with Redken Fabricate 03 Heat Active Texturizer, blow-dried it with a Sam Villa Signature Series medium oval brush to achieve volume at the base and then added a second application of Redken Fabricate 03 Heat Active Texturizer to the hair shaft. This product acts as a buffer from the iron and also gives hold. To create the collision of textures, I took very narrow, vertical sections and crimped only every other section from scalp to ends, leaving the alternating sections straight for contrast. After the hair cooled, I used a round-barreled curling iron to do a spiral wrap curl on top of the crimp. You may think you’ll lose the crimp if you do that, but you won’t; you’ll just add curl. For some of the photos, in the front area I tied knots to echo the headbands and cinched belts that are popular now.

Our models loved it! The youth of today have never experienced a crimp, so they look at it as very exciting and fresh. I’ve found that crimping underneath rather than on the surface makes the concept consumer-friendly. Apparently, the Zink editors agreed, because they gave “Vernal Encounters” four pages in the May 2008 issue! I love educating, but this shoot was a lot of fun, too.

Check out photos from the shoot here.