#009 /unlokk II “Les Cheveux”
This issue, which is the second part of the “/unlokk by eason wang” shoot, we are featuring model, Emily Loewen from RICHARD’S and an interview with hair superstar Tania Becker, who did the amazing styles for both of these shoots. We are humbled that artists of her caliber are so giving of their time and skills , this is the T/m “practice / express / nurture” philosophy at it’s best! Enjoy the interview and please post up any questions or comments you have for us or Tania at the bottom of the page.
Hi Tania, can you tell us where you are from?
I was born in Washington Heights, Manhattan but I grew up mainly in BC. I love working in New York, LA and more recently Hawaii, so although I can’t see myself moving back to the states, my US citizenship has been very helpful!
How long have you been doing hair?
I went to hairdressing school on Robson Street in 1986. It was an amazing time for hair, crazy colours, cuts and very flamboyant style. It was a great time to be learning.
12 years ago I was invited to New York Fashion Week by designers named Heatherette, to do hair for their show. From that show, I started working with more teams and now, over the years, I am doing 50-60 shows per years in NY, London and Paris. This is what allowed my to kick start my freelance career.
How did you get into hair?
My boyfriend was a hairstylist when I was in high school. He was very disciplined and didn’t let me touch hair until I did formal training, but I assisted him in the shows he did and fell in love with the industry!
When I was in hairdressing school I took my mannequin home every night and unbeknownst to me my neighbour across the alley was noticing and was owner of a top salon in Vancouver. I was offered a job and I haven’t moved salons since!
You have a salon, tell us about that?
I ended up buying the salon (MOODS) I worked for and moving it to Yaletown in 1996. I’m very lucky, I have an amazing team, they are as much hair geeks as I am! We really just get excited about hair, do hair and listen to great music together, it’s a fun environment.
You also travel a lot for work, where have you been to? What did you do in those places?
I regularly work at fashion week in NY, London, Paris and Milan, doing 25-30 shows per season.
I love doing different shows for different reasons, Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier are always vibrant and hectic backstage experiences. Fast paced, and very intense! Hair guru, Guido, always comes up with amazing looks.
London shows with James Pecis are all about arts and crafts! For example, for the Meadham Kirchoff show our team work on hair pieces for many long nights before the show, painting and glueing and melting…very inspiring.
New York shows tend to be much more natural, beautiful un-done hair, and there’s no limit to the amount of approaches that each stylist has to achieve these looks.
The Victoria’s Secret Show is also fast pace, the models are interviewing non-stop and the pace is hectic. But so much fun! Everyone is just so happy to be a part of it, and the energy is very up-beat
Other shows I do are Vivienne Westwood, Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton, Chloe, Michael Kors, Zak Posen, Versace, Dsquared, Cavalli, Carolina Herrera, Kenzo, Fendi…it’s a crazy schedule but I come back vibrating with inspiration and somehow still energetic when I get home!
You have worked with some really big names in the fashion world, can you share some of those people/projects with our readers?
The hair gurus that I mainly work with are Laurent Philippon, Guido, James Pecis and Orlando Pita. They are true hair geniuses! It’s amazing watching them do hair.
For print work, I assist James Pecis from London on any projects he has in the Western US. We recently worked on the cover and a 60 page editorial spread for Paris Vogue in Las Vegas with Daria Werbowy. We’ve also worked on campaigns for Prada and Juicy Couture, both in LA. James is not only insanely talented but I’ve learned a lot from him in regards to communication with the client/art director and with problem solving in different conditions. His team is very tight at the shows and we love working together.
Do you have representation? Would you suggest that as a goal for emerging hair people?
I am represented by Nobasura Agency for my local work and I love it. When I do hair, I want to focus on my craft, not invoicing and bill collecting. It’s important to remember that it’s a mutually supportive relationship. You will bring new clients to the agency and the agency will bring new clients to you.
Can you suggest a career track for a person interested in the “fashion” side of hair?
The first thing you want to do is build a book. Do as many shoots as possible to show a diverse body of work. The tricky thing is that a book in Vancouver doesn’t translate to other major cities, so if you are planning a career in freelance in a major city, I think it’s best to build your book where you want to end up.
Vancouver is an amazing city (i’m a HUGE fan!!) but to earn a decent living in hair here, it has to be either in the salon or in the film industry. Unfortunately there are not enough paid fashion jobs here for freelancers. I’ve had many friends make the move to Toronto with great success.
How do stay on top of trends in this fast changing fashion world?
I’m a big fan of Twitter. I think it’s great to follow very specific people that you respect in the industry around the world.
Also with any on-going learning, talk less and ask more questions! Every person around us is inspiring in some way and the people that are curious and are good listeners tend to come out ahead.
I’m inspired by change and I love that when you follow fashion and the arts and music culture, it forces you to constantly evolve.
Any other advice for our readers?
I’m a big believer in assisting as much as you can! Whether it’s in a salon or as a freelancer in any position in the fashion industry, most fashion gurus have gotten where they are from starting off with years of assisting. In Europe people don’t do their own work until they get at least 5-10 years of assisting under their belt. Here most people are so anxious to get out of school and be hairdressers on their own, they never get the proper base of learning. They can make something look good as long as it’s a style that they know and a perfect head of hair, but they run into problems long term that can discourage them from continuing.
Outliers is a book I love about building skill and craft, I recommend it!
This was so great Tania, thank you for taking the time and thanks so much for the fantastic work on this shoot!
model / emily loewen for richard’s international model management
photography / victor john penner for T/m
producer / marlisse penner for T/m
hair / tania becker @ moods hair salon for nobasura / using bumble and bumble hair products
makeup / caitlin callahan using mac cosmetics
styling / eason wang for unlokk
clothing / all by eason wang for unlokk
assistant / rob seebacher
retouching / pongsakorn (pong) yananissorn
intern / jared nome for T/m
lighting / broncolor from flashpoint photographic rentals
grip / flashpoint photographic rentals
video / direction victor john penner for T/m
video / camera & editing / david james for thekreative
music / “like a lost child” licensed by apm music
special thanks to the following for their support and/or loan of products and service…