Chapman works with her model at
Goldplaited finishing salon. She is
passionate about letting her work
speak for itself.
Chapman works with her model at Goldplaited finishing salon. She is passionate about letting her work speak for itself.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
After each look, Chapman takes
stylists outside to share the finer
points of taking a perfect smartphone
picture.
After each look, Chapman takes stylists outside to share the finer points of taking a perfect smartphone picture.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
Attendees prep for model styling at Goldplaited.
Attendees prep for model styling at Goldplaited.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
A French braid that was loosened and
pulled out to look almost faux-hawk-esque.
A French braid that was loosened and pulled out to look almost faux-hawk-esque.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
Twisted buns and braids in an
imperfect row.
Twisted buns and braids in an imperfect row.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
A loose, lived-in Dutch
fishtail updo.
A loose, lived-in Dutch fishtail updo.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
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Chapman works with her model at
Goldplaited finishing salon. She is
passionate about letting her work
speak for itself.
1/8
 
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Chapman works with her model at Goldplaited finishing salon. She is passionate about letting her work speak for itself.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
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After each look, Chapman takes
stylists outside to share the finer
points of taking a perfect smartphone
picture.
4/8
 
Slider
After each look, Chapman takes stylists outside to share the finer points of taking a perfect smartphone picture.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
Attendees prep for model styling at Goldplaited.
5/8
 
Slider
Attendees prep for model styling at Goldplaited.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
A French braid that was loosened and
pulled out to look almost faux-hawk-esque.
6/8
 
Slider
A French braid that was loosened and pulled out to look almost faux-hawk-esque.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
Twisted buns and braids in an
imperfect row.
7/8
 
Slider
Twisted buns and braids in an imperfect row.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick
A loose, lived-in Dutch
fishtail updo.
8/8
 
Slider
A loose, lived-in Dutch fishtail updo.

Photo courtesy of

Lauren Quick

Passion-Perfect

Attending a class led by Heather Chapman is likely different than classes you’ve been a part of.

 

First off—she’s particular. Even in her kit list, Chapman indicates specific brands of hairspray (and where to buy them), styling tools and more that she requires for class. She’s hand-picked this variety of implements for a reason, and the reason is that they have worked the best for her.

 

Which brings up the next point: the class is not sponsored by any brand or larger entity. A true independent, Chapman started trucking it from city to city on her own dime and with her own agenda about a year and a half ago. She’s maintained that status even though her class sizes have been growing at an impressive rate; she’s started to look at hotel ballrooms instead of salons because classes are selling out and she, quite frankly, cannot continue to inhale all that hairspray without ventilation, she says.

 

Most of her workshops span two days and cover tips and techniques for braids, bridal and updos, but there’s an added piece that is another way she differentiates herself. For every workshop, Chapman requires attendees to bring their smartphones, and a good chunk of the class covers social media and business-building. As an Instagram darling of about 140K followers (@heatherchapmanhair), she has a lot to share in terms of how to get noticed on social media and put yourself out there in the best light possible (literally and figuratively).

 

Chapman starts her class on March 30, 2015, a little slow and quiet, noting that she likes using a Valerie June Pandora station to get things going—Bon Iver and the like. She stands in the front-middle of Goldplaited finishing salon in Chicago with about 20 stylists in half-circle around the room.

 

“This is a luxury—a mirror,” Chapman says. “Usually I’m on location. And no hydraulic chairs!”

 

For the first three hours of class, Chapman takes the attendees through four upstyles that are largely braid-based. After every look, she stands up her model and gives her specific instructions: “Just wear your tank top,” “Could you put on a red lip?” “Move your bra strap out a bit.” She is very strategic and meticulous with what she’s doing, perhaps because she knows 140K or more people might have eyes on it.

 

Stylists file out with Chapman after she makes subtle adjustments, and they are all instructed to take pictures of the upstyles on their phones in natural lighting when possible (though a particularly windy moment forces them back inside for one look). Chapman is ever the coach, encouraging stylists to ask the model to move, shift, find a different backdrop. She doesn’t rush attendees, doesn’t hustle them back inside; everyone gets a turn and can ask questions about technique.

 

Although Chapman is fastidious in most everything, she acknowledges that braids and updos of this kind are frequently better when imperfect.

 

“Don’t ruin a whole hairstyle over one little thing,” Chapman says. “Don’t go into a hairstyle with an absolute, 100-percent end-result that you expect. The hair just might not do that.”

 

She suggests embracing haircolor, baby hairs around the face, interesting piercings and whatever else might come your way when creating a look. Some of those quirks are what she finds gets the most engagement on her Instagram images, she says.

 

Stylists take a one-hour lunch break, then they rejoin with live models to recreate one of the styles Chapman showed them earlier in the day for the remainder of the class time. She walks around the room to assist and advise where needed, and when done, the models and stylists venture outside for a photo op.

 

“Fishtails are awesome to pull apart,” Chapman shares with stylists. “It’s almost like therapy!”

 

In that way, Chapman is very much like most passionate stylists— creating hair art is something she enjoys tremendously.

 

To see a full list of upcoming classes, visit heatherchapmanhair.com.

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