Editor's Note: Operation InspirationThink back to the last time a little experimentation helped you discover the best approach to balayage, or that appointment when you trimmed a client’s fringe into the most perfectly blended face frame. What prompted you to try that technique? What influenced you to push your comfort boundaries?

We often hear how beauty professionals draw inspiration for haircolor placement through nature’s coloring of flower petals, birds or even the way the sun lights up a child’s hair. Photoshoots are inspired by music and culture, landscapes and skylines. And trends are triggered by celebrity, film and even the economy.

When MODERN’s team of editors and designers began the process of refreshing the look and feel of the magazine’s design, we took a similar approach—pulling our inspiration from what’s trending in beauty. We were inspired by nail lacquer lines, makeup palettes, swatch books and the clean design of salon and home décor. The process was eye-opening—and dared us to push our creative energy to the next level.

As the summer sun continues to shine bright, it’s tough to imagine that fall is right around the corner, and with it comes the annual rite of fashion shows featuring the latest in trend and design. Make sure you pay attention to what comes down those runways: Your clients look to you for cues on fashion and beauty—even at your clothing and accessories. So it’s important that you stay up on trends and continue to dress the part.

Twice a year, at Lux Salon in Fullerton, California, the team creates their own collections on models the salon brings in. “It’s been a transformational process,” says co-owner Wade Zylstra. “Our staff is paying closer attention to the trends going on around them. We’re seeing staff members change their own looks with patterned tights, new nail designs and color techniques. It’s incredible what small changes do to promote trend conversation with guests—it dares clients to try something different.”

For the artists featured in this issue of MODERN, the creative influences come from everything they see and experience in the world around them.

Cover artist Kazushi Yamamura draws influence for his extreme finish from art movements of the 1900s to the 2000s—looking at the futuristic, monochromatic styles of the modern era for hints on color diffusion.

Mizani educator Evie Johnson is inspired by primary shapes in and clean lines when she created her geometric silhouettes featured in Blended Shape Methodology—merging three dimensional shapes with precision haircutting.

And in Fashion Infusion, see how jcp salons Artistic Director Nick Stenson gets creative by looking at playful runway fashions and graphic-inspired prints and patterns.

As you get inspired by the talent and beauty on these pages, I encourage you to step out of your own comfort zone and experiment a little bit. The looks may not all be winners—but, as I’ve frequently heard in this industry—try to fall in love with the process and the results will come.

As musician Frank Zappa once said, “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it’s not open.”

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