Mug Shots: Inspirational Men's Styling

Moments of Reflection: Patrick Chai draws from the past to create a collection for tomorrow.

A Cut Above “I created the haircut using only shears,” says Chai, “taking vertical sections around the head and connecting the top for balance.

Hair and Photography by Patrick Chai.

Patrick Chai isn’t your typical stylist. The award-winning, American Crew–sponsored artist, who plies his trade at Beverly Hills, California’s Michaeljohn Salon, was once a top-tier engineer within the defense industry, developing radar for F/A-18 aircraft and missile launchers. “It was a well-paying and secure job, but I realized I was unfulfilled,” says Chai. So he decided to go back to school—and by “school” we mean Harvard University—to get his master's and become a math teacher. “While I really enjoyed teaching, once again I had that feeling that it wasn’t my true calling,” Chai relates.

Then one day in 2006, on a whim, Chai bought a camera. He started taking pictures “just for fun,” but the whim soon grew into something more. “That void I’d had was finally being filled,” he recalls. Emboldened by finding his true passion—portrait photography— Chai heeded the advice of a favorite professor and enrolled in beauty school to get a sense of how to style hair and makeup.

Years later, he is still fulfilled and following his passion. “I really love what I do,” Chai says. “I joke, but it’s true: I cut a couple of hairs while chatting with my friends. What better way is there to spend the day?”

Chai has received several styling and photography accolades, including a win at American Crew’s North American Face Off photography contest in 2012. Here, he presents an exclusive look at one of his latest compilations, The Reflective Collection, which features longer length and clean lines, and “draws on elements of the past.”

Beauty in Simplicity “I used a single styling product for each of the looks: American Crew Molding Clay,” details Chai. “It has natural shine and high hold. I applied it to dry hair after styling it with a blow dryer and Denman brush.”

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