Each year, Wella challenges hairdressers to compete in its annual Trend Vision competition, designed to be a platform for stylists to showcase their mastery, talent and inspiration.
“We have so many platforms within Wella for hairdressers to do that, but the ultimate is Trend Vision,” says Paula Ruffo, Wella Professionals' Portfolio Education Manager, who is responsible for leading the brand’s competitions including Sebastian’s What’s Next Awards and all the rounds of Trend Vision (from regional to national to international).
There are three categories of Trend Vision that beauty professionals can enter: Color Vision, Creative Vision and Student.
“Color Vision is truly for the color master,” Ruffo says, who has been using the color line since she started as a new colorist in 1989. “Creative Vision is where they can go more editorial and avant garde with the styling. It’s more about the overall finish with complementary color. And the Student category is for the next generation of professionals.”
Trend Vision starts with the debut of color trends. There are two: one to represent spring/summer and one for fall/winter. For 2016, it was Molten Ecaille and Live Comfort Luxe.
“The trends are developed by the global design team who work with trend agencies,” Ruffo says. The trends are debuted at the International Trend Vision Awards, which kicks off the process of a year of colorists and salons translating the trends on models and then photographing them to enter that year’s competition.
All of the entries are submitted through Bloom.com, which includes background on the concepts, the technical guides for interpreting the trends, and education on how to best put together your model’s look.
“Often, I’m asked the same questions frequently, so on this page, we provide coaching and mentoring on the website with on how to put together your entry—even on a budget,” Ruffo says.
The competition has multiple prongs: regional, national and international.
“Regional was created really for the hairdresser who is intimidated by competition—meaning, you don’t need to set up a professional photoshoot to demonstrate how talented you are as a hairdresser,” says Megan Newell, communications manager, who helps manage the competitions and helps provide exposure for the brand’s competitors. “You just go to Bloom.com and submit three photos of your best work. Then, if you’re selected as a finalist from your Bloom.com entry, you get to compete at a live event near you.”
While competitors are at the live event, they get to take a professional photo of their model showcasing their interpretation of the trend. Wella provides a professional photographer, makeup artist and wardrobe stylist, competitors can access their expertise as they help refine the look.
“You walk away with a professional photo that can go in your portfolio and it enters you into national Trend Vision,” Newell says. “So if a competitor doesn’t win at regionals, they still have potential to be selected as a semifinalist out of the photograph entries because their photo was submitted.”
NATIONAL TREND VISION
The next leg of the journey is National Trend Vision—sometimes shorted to NATVA (North American Trend Vision Awards). This is a photo-based entry process, with a live competition component.
Here, 21 competitors (seven from each of the three categories) create their trend interpretation on models. Wella hosts and fly in the finalists, their models and an assistant—all expenses paid.
“Judges evaluate during prep, and competitors have to explain to judges their inspiration, not only their color placement and technical side, but their mood board for their entry,” Newell says. “It’s important that you present your inspiration as creatively as possible because it helps frame your entry.”
There are three levels of winning within each of three categories: Bronze, Silver and Gold. For North American Trend Vision, both U.S. and Canada compete, ultimately ending with 18 winners, where the top honors travel to International Trend Vision.
INTERNATIONAL TREND VISION AWARDS
The Gold winners of Color Vision and Creative Vision compete live—again, Wella hosts the finalist, his or her model and an assistant of their choice. Wella recommends competitors choose a professional makeup artist as the assistant to keep things seamless—but also to serve as a travel companion as the host city for the international awards is always a very cool place.
“We try to have new location every year,” Ruffo says. “Our agency scouts locations—visiting cities that have venues big enough to hold 2,000-plus hairdressers and to make sure it’s an inspirational venue that people want to go to.”
In the past, host cities have included Berlin, Paris, Monaco, Lisbon, New York City and Madrid. For 2016, Barcelona serves as the host.
Competitors recreate the look from the photo that landed them in the finals.
“We fly in on a Thursday, Friday is a meet and greet, and the days are packed,” Ruffo says. “Day two is prep and rehearsal. Day three is the show, where the final touches are done on the models and paraded on the stage to a live audience and for final judging on presentation.”
Then, it starts all over. The host city for the next year is revealed, along with the trend release.
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