Fashion Week: Living a Dream

Sam Villa 0by Sam Villa

Have you ever longed for the opportunity to participate back stage at fashion week…New York, London, Milan, Paris? You may be dreaming of changing your career focus and have the desire to now be a session stylist, no longer standing behind the chair full time. I had the dream of being a platform artist and some day hopefully doing New York Fashion Week.

Coming off of New York Fashion Week F/W 2015 working with the great Peter Gray and Rodney Cutler Session team for the Sophie Theallet Show allowed me to realize dreams do come true. Sometimes I wish I could take a long nap, like right now, and dream some more.

I remember taking fashion design classes while in college and asking myself why I was taking them, little did I know at the time ‘fashion’ was in my career at some point. Believe, and look at your dreams closely!

I remember in 1979 doing a fashion show for a chain boutique called ‘Changes,’ I had the responsibility of the hair, choreography and set design, in Santa Cruz California at the Coconut Grove. The VP of the Gap at the time said I needed to be doing New York Fashion Week.  My little voice was saying, ‘that will never happen’…. little did I know my career desires were building.

It was always a personal dream to do fashion week, to be backstage and feel the true vibe of fashion week. I remember always saying that I don’t have the skills, don’t know the right people, don’t have the look, always an excuse. You see my friends, the fulfillment of our dreams begins with intention and desire. I continually remind myself that my destiny in this industry is ultimately shaped by my deepest intentions and desires.

Most people aren’t living their dreams, and the reason is simple, FEAR!  They are scared to be who they are. There is a lot at risk; we could fail, lose the respect of our colleagues, go broke…all this could happen, yet the most important thing could happen too - you could succeed!!

I woke up that Tuesday morning and a moment of fear ran through me. You see, I have great respect for Rodney Cutler and the team of people he has created in the fashion world. The name is well respected and I did not want to let him down. Will Peter Gray be happy with my work? Can I do the look? Will the team accept me? All kinds of scenarios ran through my head…the snowstorm…. going to be late…. you name it, I thought of it. Once I started to understand that I have earned the right to be there, my fears started to go away, the trust was back, the desire and right intentions were all coming back.

Sam Villa Fashion Week
Upon arrival, a humble team greeted me and I was honored to be surrounded by such a group of talented stylists. Peter arrived and explained and demoed the simplicity of the look. The trust in his team was evident. We worked in pairs to achieve a very casual organic texture. We massaged at the scalp, the base of vertical sections to achieve a worn in texture to create a casual blow dry look. We then tied a scarf to create a more natural head shape, taking it off before the model walked out on the runway. Any lengths were quickly wrapped around a large barrel for bend and slight movement. Peter’s right hand stylist, Taka, walked around to ensure we were all working in the right direction as we worked in pairs for the sake of speed. Backstage at fashion week is always about controlled chaos, and in the end we celebrated another successful show.  When I walked out, I had to ask myself what I was so scared about….F.E.A.R…fantasized experiences appearing real.

If you’re going to live and lead intentionally, you can’t wait for fear to go away. Here are 3 simple thoughts that have worked for me to pursue passion:

THOUGHT 1: DECLARE - Before others will believe in you, you must believe in yourself. Most hairdressers just consider themselves to be a hairdresser behind the chair, yet dream of doing hair backstage at fashion week, a position taken mostly by ‘session stylists.’ Remember my friends, you don’t have to want to be a session stylist to do fashion week, you just need to dress/finish hair- declare it!

THOUGHT 2: BELIEVE – A lot of times friends and family often notice our talents long before we do, they acknowledge the talents and resources we doubt and dismiss. The only way to find your dream is to trust the gift you have been given and accept the value you offer, not invent it. At some time we need to stop doubting ourselves, if I can do it, so can you. There is a word for this, it’s called ‘faith.’ Sometimes we need to grasp the possibility of achieving our dream before it happens. We have to believe it before we see it.

THOUGHT 3: DO IT - What am I saying to do? PRACTICE…PRACTICE…PRACTICE… again, again, and again. We are not merely what we do, we become what we practice. If you practice insecurity and fear, what does that make you? If you have a dream or calling to participate in fashion week and your not living it, it’s time to get to work.

If I had to guess, I would bet there have been many roadblocks, potholes, and detours on your hairdressing journey. It is certainly true for me! Sometimes you just have to hang on as the windstorm blows through. Sometimes it just takes perseverance, commitment, and gentle reminders that we will make it through.

In most days, we measure our progress in miles not inches…measure in inches as progress is evolutionary not revolutionary. What matters most is how you show up to play the game, you will be amazed at how much distance you can cover.  You see, the little things add up to inches. Dream and stay the course, our journey is about progress, if I can get 1% better each day, then it’s a good day.

DECLARE it, BELIEVE in it, and then DO it!  Remember, until you start living it, you’re only dreaming.  

Proud to be a Hairdresser!

More in Guest Blog