The term “lunatic fringe” refers to outliers, those who live on the edge or fringes of society because their take on life is so unique and original. It’s also the name of a salon group in Utah overseen by unique and original Artistic Director Jake Thompson.
“My role with the Lunatic Fringe Artistic Team is to organize it and bring details together,” Thompson says. “Our team members are at different points in their career and there is a range of skill level so my role is to make sure that everyone is doing consistent work and to be there if they need help or redirection. We’re only as good as our least experienced stylist in the salon so we make sure we bring their skill level up a little bit. I also help to influence people who want to go on the edgy side of hairdressing.”
Thompson joined Lunatic Fringe owners Shawn Trujillo and Angie Katsanevas ten years ago with an eye towards expanding from one location to several throughout Utah. “Angie and Sean find people to be managing partners/owners so they can create other locations and then the salons run themselves,” says Thompson. The team behind Lunatic Fringe also includes Education Director Andrew Carruthers and Creative Director Fumi Eguchi. Under their leadership, an overall Lunatic Fringe collection is created and shot several times a year.
“Fumi looks at trends from music, clothing and videos to identify a theme. He keeps it very wearable. Last year, we took inspiration from the artist James Turrell’s exhibit at The Guggenheim. The images are all uploaded to a server and people can download them for their specific salon locations.”
A team assembled from different locations also puts together a hair show which they present at Paul Mitchell Caper, an event for Paul Mitchell schools, and at a fundraiser. The same team shoots a North American Hairstylist Awards (NAHA) submission each year. Thompson feels strongly that working on a NAHA shoot is important for stylists to advance their careers.
“NAHA is a creative outlet to challenge yourself and improve your creative eye,” says Thompson. “As artists we should always want to build our legacy or portfolio. I feel NAHA has helped project my personal career to the next level and I feel it has helped Lunatic Fringe sustain a name in the industry.
“If you don’t get nominated, then you commit to making it better next year. If you do make the finals and win, then you need to use those connections to project yourself and harness that good energy and promote yourself.”
Thompson and Carruthers teach at cosmetology and beauty schools, with an eye towards recruiting for their salons. They also groom stylists to be teachers, themselves. “We are all about culture. We can teach you and make you better but we want you to be nice to the core.”
Other Lunatic Fringe ‘musts’ include “passion, great work ethic, self-motivated, love of fashion, artistic sense.”
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