Home' INSTYLE Magazine : INSTYLE MAR-APL 2018 Contents I
t could just be the cheeky English accent, the equally as
mischievous smile, the sense of humour and lightness
associated with not taking yourself too seriously – even
on-stage it’s like he’s talking to a bunch of mates. It’s also
probably why he loves visiting Australia and the Australian
Aveda network so much -for the relaxed low-key attitude
all round. Ian travels the globe to educate Aveda colourists,
collaborates on Aveda trend collections and visual campaigns, and
sees client’s at Aveda’s New York Lifestyle salon in Soho and now
in LA where he’s based - but really there's so much more than this
to his schedule and it's really a life well lived.
Sitting at lunch with him at Otto in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo it
was as much about people watching, taking it all in and having a
laugh as it was about gaining yet another valuable insight into his
creative brain. Ian’s approach is like couture for hair, everything
he does is bespoke. He’s not boxed in, so it’s no wonder that
Aveda have packaged him into a role that bridges the English/
European, American and global aesthetic that is the advanced
“Here it’s a smaller market, it’s almost like one culture for one
country and when you get to America it’s a completely different
breadth of wealth of culture, you have to work to a generic
standpoint when working globally,” Ian said.
“A lot of people don’t agree but LA is much more the centre of
hair than New York. It’s changed so much – 10 years ago I thought
it was backwards but it’s different now. The modern art scene is
much bigger there. It’s just like pastel is now a way of life and not a
trend – regardless colour will always be about technique,” he said.
Admittedly hairdressing was not a life-long passion of his, he
wasn’t really ever exposed to fashion or beauty, he developed his
own dexterity through trial and error and moving towards things
that he found interesting.
“It’s not just hair we transform. There is an aesthetic in LA that
doesn’t exist every where. There’s a real Instagram aesthetic of
small makeup brands and new markets,” Ian said.
As Clint Piper, Aveda Australia General Manager also said,
“There are two main places for innovation - one is Korea and one is
Ian Michael Black is
Aveda’s global man of
mastery – making his
mark on hairdressers
across the landscape
with an aesthetic and an
attitude you want to go
on a long-lunch with. So
what is it about the Black
Label that audiences can't
get enough of?
Ian believes that despite this people are the same in every
country, time poor, stressed out and wanting to learn something
that enlightens them.
“You need to step outside the rat race sometimes to see where
inspiration can come from. It’s been 7 years since I moved to New
York with Aveda and its one of those jobs that doesn’t have a job
description – if I left it could be re-conditioned. We could almost
live anywhere and still do the same job,” Ian said.
“There are so many buzz words now with colour but this year
Eclipting is an innovative hair colour technique that takes into
account facial features – to bring out the best in a face. It’s not just
about the hair, the face is paramount with great work,” Ian said.
“Hairdressing is really changing in the States. Suites have
become so cheap to rent that the regular salon is constantly
under threat but I still love working in a salon, I like the
environment, I like sharing. This is why a lot of us got into the
industry in the first place,” Ian said.
Now living in LA on his own, it’s the people he works with all
over the world that makes him who he is.
He also takes another leap of faith with his schedule, forever
staying humble to take every experience as a learning curve,
even if this means a month of eating takeout. People change a
lot these days from salon work, to working a suite, editorial or
education there are so many options available. “Even on a bad
day in America people can live on 20 percent tips.”
For Ian, however, it’s the cohesive glue of an event like Aveda
Congress, Salon International, Master Jam, Colour Harmony
Awards and anything that collectively allows people to share that
keeps the hairdressing industry 'happy’.
The sun was shining, Sydney was turning it on and it was a
hysterical lunch. An infectious energy underscored the entire
lunch table. Ian is the type of guy that can find some fun
anywhere he goes, his label of hair is just like a Black Label –
always exclusive, always in fashion and always in demand. In a
world full of same same, there really is only one Ian.
For more information visit www.aveda.com.au
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