4 Lead Hairstylists on How to Earn a Spot Working Backstage at New York Fashion Week


New York Fashion Week may be about all the beautiful clothes, but make no mistake,  it wouldn’t be the cultural phenomenon that it is without noteworthy hair looks. Hair plays a pivotal role in helping to bring a designer’s vision to life and cementing the season’s overarching trends. That’s why it goes without saying that lead hairstylists—the creative masterminds responsible for conceptualizing a show’s final hair look and leading the entire hair team—are truly some of the most important people working backstage at NYFW.

For many up-and-coming hairstylists, keying a major runway show or presentation is the ultimate dream. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to become a lead hairstylist at NYFW, listen up: hair pros Carly Loura, Nick Stenson, Matthew Curtis, and Kien Hoang have some really good advice. 

If you’re hoping to follow in their footsteps, keep reading for their best tips!

Carly Loura, (@loura.carlyy)

Hairstylist at Cutler Salon

“Just be annoying. Get on some emails and DM’s and just ask. It really is an industry where you’ve got to know someone so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!” —Carly Loura, Lead Hairstylist at PH5

Nick Stenson, (@nickstenson)

SVP, Store & Service Operations at Ulta Beauty; Founder of Nick Stenson Beauty; Matrix Brand Ambassador

“Listen, I would say find your people. Find your tribe. Find a really good group of artists to work with and to collaborate with. Find great brands to partner with and build out that team. It’s so important, like I couldn’t do what I’m doing today without the amazing team behind me and I think it really comes down to that.” —Nick Stenson, Lead Hairstylist at Alice + Olivia

Matthew Curtis, (@matthewcurtishair)

Session Stylist and Owner of Matthew Curtis Salons

“Work hard. Reach out to people—drop us an email. It’s all about connections and making an impression. You know, all of these stylists have at some point along the way have made an impression and worked hard and gave their time and energy and passion. I’m sure if other people do the same, eventually, it shines through.” —Matthew Curtis, Lead Hairstylist at Alejandra Alonso Rojas and CHOCHENG 

Kien Hoang, (@kienhoang)

Principal Artist of Global Design at Oribe; Founder of Umbrella Salon

“Work with creative teams and listen, learn, and watch. Also, be proactive and contribute to the team and, you know, also do research on history to just see what the styles were then to now, and how we can move them forward.”—Kien Hoang, Lead Hairstylist at Marrisa Wilson, The Blonds, Head of State, Private Policy, and A.Potts

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Camille Nzengung

Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor at The Tease, where she covers all things hair. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches. Send her a pitch: cnzengung@thetease.com.


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