Lead Hairstylist and UNITE Hair’s Creative Director Gary Baker Crafts the Perfect Rope Braid Ponytail for Flying Solo’s SS24 Runway Show


Fashion collective Flying Solo returned to New York Fashion Week to host seven runway shows in one event, which showcased the Spring 2024 collections of over 80 emerging designers from around the world. Known to be one of the most cutting-edge fashion events during fashion week as well as the biggest show in New York, this season, the fashion platform spotlighted a wide array of daring designs across womenswear, menswear, and accessories. Some of the brands featured during the show included, Dale James the Brand, Sneha Milan Couture, Famluxy, and Bekanvas.

Serving as key hairstylist for the show, UNITE Hair’s creative director Gary Baker was tasked with creating one unifying hairstyle that would pair well with all the vastly different designer collections that were featured in the show. Wanting to keep the hair super sleek, Baker designed the perfect rope braid ponytail for all the models, using a variety of UNITE Hair products.

Pre-show, The Tease spoke to Baker about the inspiration for the hair look, the key UNITE products that were used backstage, and his favorite thing about working at New York Fashion Week. Keep on reading for more!

The Tease: What can you tell us about the hair look for the Flying Solo Spring 2024 runway show? What served as inspiration?

Gary Baker: The inspiration was [to keep it] extremely clean. It’s an actual trend we’re seeing through all the shows. And I’ve also never seen braiding so big and running through so many shows, in any season.

How does this hair complement the fashion from the collection?

Baker: Well, the good thing with Flying Solo is because you have a multiple designer show, it complements all the looks that are going to be shown. So, [the rope braid] just makes sure that the hair’s all really clean, but it’s also got a straight edge that fits most of the clothes you’re going to see. 

As far as key products, what UNITE products were used to prep and style the hair backstage?

Baker: We like natural textured hair. So, to prep the hair we are using something to protect it—like heat protectants are really good. We’ve got a great one called Silky Smooth, which allows us to either use an iron or a blow dryer. So, we nourish the hair, moisturize it, smooth it out, and then we’re going to go back in with maybe a mousse and a hairspray. We use that in small sections, create a faultless ponytail and then use that on the braid as well.

Lastly, what’s your favorite thing about working at New York Fashion Week?

Baker: I like the crazy. That’s it. As simple as that. I’m an adrenaline junkie, so the crazy’s good.

Get the Look: Sleek Rope Braid Ponytail 

Image Credit: Camille Nzengung
  1. Start off by sectioning out the hair, and spraying EXPANDA Volume on each section all over the roots.
  2. Start to spread the product around the roots by brushing the hair back with a brush and blow dryer.
  3. Tie the hair back into a sleek ponytail with elastic.
  4. Spray GO365 Hairspray to lock in the smooth and sleek base of the hair.
  5. Create a sleek and very long extended braid by tying Yaki Hair to the base of the ponytail for extra length.
  6. Create a clean 3-strand braid by spraying EXPANDA Volume into your hand and running it through the ponytail to give it sleek sections with high shine as you continue to braid the ponytail.
  7. Spray GO365 Hairspray to finish the look

If you recreate these looks for your next client, or for yourself at home, be sure to tag @readthetease on Instagram.

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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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