THE PRAIRIE COLLECTION was inspired by iconic images of the American West, archetypes and artists, including Georgie O'Keefe.

The movement that started with Vidal Sassoon and that changed hairdressing forever continues under the direction of the Sassoon International Creative Team and its leaders. Traci Sakosits, North American Creative Director for Sassoon, started with Sassoon in New York City 21 years ago. Working alongside Sassoon International Creative Director Mark Hayes and North American Color Director Richie Rivera, along with other members of the Sassoon International Creative Team, she trains experienced and aspiring hairdressers at salons and Sassoon Academies all over the world. For those interested in being a part of this Sassoon team, Sakosits explained the process.

“The initial Sassoon training is to set the standard and give someone the skills and practice that is expected from Sassoon,” says Sakosits. “This is what students at the academy receive as well as salon professionals interested in becoming educators. It starts out with the founding principles of cut and color, what we call the ABC’s. We get back to understanding the how’s and why’s of cutting and coloring which allows you to be very creatively free because it takes the guess work out.”

Any stylist interested in sharing what they know first applies to Sassoon, is interviewed and, if moving forward, is trained to educate in their local area, first. They will be teaching at intimate salon seminars to large venue events.

“Not everyone starts with Sassoon at the very beginning but many see it later and know it is the standard they want to apply to their work,” says Sakosits. “The qualities that we look for in an educator are commitment, dedication and desire to be the best. All our educators in our academies are full time teachers. We look for people that want to have a career with Sassoon and there are many opportunities because we are an international company.”

The International Sassoon Team uses their yearly collections as a teaching tool for presenting the principles of their systematic approach.

“We create two collections a year to show what’s new with hair; one is our salon collection geared for our clients and salon teams and the other that is geared for the hairdresser. Mark Hayes curates these collections beautifully in a way that is related to fashion and art. It is our responsibility to train the creative directors in the salons, the staff and assistants and we use the collections as jumping off point.”

Sassoon’s latest collection launched first in London at Sassoon’s Advanced Academy, then made appearances at runways and tradeshows. The SS14 Academy Collection Prairie looks at the American West, its characters and caretakers, from cowboys to artist Georgia O’Keefe.

A Sassoon collection honors its founder in looks and cuts. “I have huge respect for Vidal, for what he did and when he did it. Our heritage underpins everything we do while constantly transitioning us into modern times, as well, not changing but developing. When I go to London and do hair, I know that we’re doing something similar in Los Angeles. There is this underlying synergy and that ensures the connection to Vidal and to each other is always there.”

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TEAM SPIRIT: The Sassoon International Creative Team