Style Scene

Tulsa salon owners make it backstage at New York Fashion Week

Tulsa World – by Rita Sherrow World Scene Writer
September 22, 2015

Those backstage at the recently completed New York Fashion Week weren’t hallucinating — they really were seeing double.

Identical twins Jane Huggins-Clayton and Julie Hudson, owners of Tulsa’s iidentity Salon (hence the “ii” in the name of their salon) were chosen as hair stylists by New York-based brand Bumble and Bumble to work shows during the iconic fashion event.

Being chosen was a huge honor for the sisters, who opened their salon in 2000 and have spent 15 years attending classes offered by the company and attending  Bumble and Bumble University to hone their hair-styling craft, Huggins-Clayton said.

“I can’t even describe it,” she said. “It’s surreal to think you are coming from a hairdresser persona in Oklahoma to backstage Fashion Week in New York City. It was the pinnacle of my hairdressing journey.”

This was their second attempt to be hired for the event. The first time, they were told to continue to “work on their craft” and return. The cream of the crop of professional hairstylists from across the country are chosen during auditions held in New York and Los Angeles. The final test involved styling and perfecting three foundation hairstyles in a specific amount of time, Huggins-Clayton said.

The number chosen to work backstage during NYFW depends on how many shows Bumble and Bumble has booked and how many stylists are needed to prep a specific number of models, she said. The sisters were among 12 “newbie” stylists chosen by the company.

Hudson explained how it works backstage. The fashion designer creates a look for his or her show. Each model is prepped and has a Polaroid photo taken showing how their look fits the clothing and the era they are trying to portray.

“One was an androgynous, multicultural look, a sort of  anybody-can-wear-any-style type,” Hudson said. “We did one show that was very ’80s inspired with lots of zig-zag parts. Another one had a ’90s look inspired by the TV show ‘Friends,’ which had Phoebe- and Monica-type  characters.”

The sisters styled hair for the shows of Thom Browne, Hood by Air, Karen Walker, Gypsy Sport and Collina Strada during their week in New York.

Hudson said being well-educated in the techniques and use of the products is essential at fashion shows.

“When you’re in a time crunch, you have to know exactly what to do and how to stay calm. All the education and all the classes that we have in salon and attend — all those thousand little bits and tricks that you learn prepare you for something like this.”

Natives of Muskogee, the sisters went to cosmetology school together and created their salon because they didn’t want to do “cookie-cutter hairstyles.”

“We really just wanted to get as much information and education from everybody and then you create from behind your chair,” said Hudson, who heads back to New York City with her sister for the mid-winter New York Fashion Week in February. “That is where ‘iidentity’ came from.”

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