On June 28th, hairstylist, brand founder and icon, Sam Villa is partnering with Mizani Global Artistic Director, Tippi Shorter for an event called Fabric of Change. Fabric of Change is a daylong live-streamed event that will educate salon pros on racial equality and inspire them to positively change the industry.
The event will bring together some of the most talented Black educators and influencers, including Vernon François, Michelle O’Connor, Evie Johnson and many more. Each artist will have a 30-minute segment live-streamed on Villa’s Facebook and YouTube staring at 10am until 7pm EST. Viewers can make a donation button to the National Black Justice Coalition, which supports equality and an end to racism.
We spoke with Villa about his dedication to inclusivity in the industry and the importance of events like Fabric of Change.
The Tease: How did the Fabric of Change event come together?
Sam Villa: At Sam Villa, our mission has always been to elevate the industry and motivate and inspire all hairdressers. Recent events highlighted the reality that we had not always been as inclusive as we thought. We realize we can’t do this without supporting and respecting Black hairdressers and all textures of hair in our education. We hope to inspire a fabric of change in the industry…it’s time.
How were the artists identified?
The group of artists represent a cross-section of some of the best-known educators in the industry. Some are known for extraordinary editorial work, some for their work with celebrities and some for their business building and coaching expertise.
The Fabric of Change event is as relevant as ever given the call for racial justice and various Black Lives Matter movements across the US. But, are there plans to do another such event in the future?
Absolutely! Fabric of Change is a first step. We, as a brand and company, commit ourselves to becoming more inclusive in our own artistic team and educational collaborations. We will also use our platform to showcase more imagery and artistic work from the Black hairdresser community.
In the press release, you state, “We recognize that there’s racial bias in our industry, and we’re looking at our practices to ensure we continue to become more inclusive”. What responsibility do brands like yours have to ensure changes are seen across the industry?
We, like many companies, are looking at our business structures, our marketing and most importantly, our education to make sure we continue to become more inclusive. This is a first step. We know there is much more work to do, and it won’t happen overnight. But we start now to contribute to ensuring lasting change going forward for our brand and for the industry. The beauty industry and the brands do have an important role and responsibility when it comes to breaking down barriers and representing the industry as a whole. This includes corporate responsibility in terms of hiring and developing diversity in the workplace and representing all voices in decision making and marketing, and company culture.
How can brands and the industry as a whole unite to support the Black community and Black hairstylists in particular?
I believe it starts with listening and making a commitment to making change in our industry. We realize that Black hairdressers and educators have been under-represented on stage and online. And we can work to change this dynamic through education. We must change perceptions that Black hairdressers only work on textured hair and vice versa. We must use education to bridge the divide and educate hairdressers on all textures of hair. And we must work to elevate and showcase talent on our social media, at events and in the boardroom.