You’ve likely heard of Color Zoom at one point in your professional beauty career. After all, the annual Goldwell competition gains tons of press from trade, consumer and international media. And while MODERN editors go all-out to provide coverage of the event—judging it, celebrating the finalists, and joining them in the international leg of the competition—so often we see the same questions pop up: What is Color Zoom? How can I participate? Where can I learn more about this event?
We talked to Goldwell’s VP & Global Creative Director John Moroney to get the full Color Zoom scoop.
Consider this your Color Zoom 101.
The confetti falls on the 2015 Color Zoom winners.
Every year, Goldwell releases a trend collection that is used as the inspiration for its annual haircolor and style competition, Color Zoom. Across the globe, Color Zoom starts on a national level. Beauty pros compete in three categories— Creative Colorist, New Talent Colorist, Partner Colorist—by submitting a photo of their interpretation of the trend. Once the Gold winners of each category are determined on a national level, they go on to compete internationally on behalf of their respective countries during a live recreation of the look on their model—including the hair color—in front of a judging panel and audience. The international leg of the competition takes place in a new city each year.
A little bit like the Olympics of hair.
“Color Zoom is incredibly important in how we, as Goldwell think ‘stylist,’” Moroney says. “We know from years and years of talking with stylists that one of the most important things for their journey in their career is to have a platform to showcase and achieve recognition for their work. Color Zoom does just that.”
But once the winners are named and the confetti has been swept off the ground, the winners’ journeys don’t stop there. Goldwell taps this winning talent throughout the year as spokespeople for the brand, but also—in collaboration with Goldwell top artists—to develop next year’s Color Zoom trend that will be interpreted by competitors across the globe.
Moroney shares that up until about three years ago, Color Zoom was mostly entered by “Goldwell loyalists.” But with the brand’s re-launch in 2014, Goldwell’s trend collections (which are created by the previous year’s winners—more on that later) started to veer away from avant garde and gravitate toward fashion-driven trends. Not only in an effort to have these trends serve as inspiration to hairdressers and competitors, but also to their clients.
Moroney says Harley LoBasso, who won International Color Zoom in 2015 for her interpretation of the Traditional Rebels trend, said she had never entered before because there wasn’t a trend that spoke to her. But once she saw Traditional Rebels, she knew she had to participate.
“We absolutely look at Color Zoom as our haute coiffure collection,” Moroney says. “When we look at the work we produce for our brand, we know we have to have imagery and looks and techniques that inspire the hairdresser—but we also want the work to look like it could appear in Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue in an editorial section, not just a hairdressing collection.”
Yes, there’s a time and a place for avant garde—“but if you hang up those images in a salon, they inspire the hairdressers, but they scare the crap out of clients,” Moroney says. “We try to take that into account. There needs to be a commercial aspect to these trends.”
2015 Color Zoom winners Corrine Brown and Harley LoBasso collaborated on a MODERN SALON photoshoot that earned the August 2016 cover.
THE JOURNEY OF THE COLOR ZOOM WINNERS
The moment the winners are announced on stage at International they’re swept into media interviews and photo opps. The next day, they’re pulled into a press conference with international beauty press. Then, about six weeks later, the winners join together in London with top Goldwell artists to start researching the development of 2017’s trend collection.
“Over these four incredibly intensive days, the winners have in-depth meetings with a fashion agency to create the collection with me standing over them saying ‘try that, do this,’” Moroney says. “Some artists have months and months to create mood boards and refine concepts to plan photoshoots—this is three people and two mentors to do it in four days.”
Four weeks later, the winners join again in Berlin for the actual photoshoot. The models are cast and the trend is created, all based on the key concepts that were extrapolated from the fashion statement determined in London.
“It’s a really intense week for the winners full of every emotion from A-Z—the ups, the downs, the frustrations, the agony and ecstasy,” Moroney says. “At the end of the week, as with any photoshoot, the artists are exhausted and exhilarated, loving and hating the work we just did.”
All the winners reunite one more time in Germany to unveil the final product. Then they have a month until they start rolling out the training on how they created the trend to the rest of the global artistic team, who spends the next year on the road teaching and promoting the collection.
But wait… that’s not all. The winners are invited back to the next year’s International Color Zoom to serve as judges for their collection that inspired the entries.
“Who better to come back and judge the interpretations than those who created it?” Moroney says. We agree.
Finally, editorial opportunities abound for the winners throughout the year.
THE JUDGES & THE JUDGING
“In order to be fair, and to honor the incredible work these stylists do to enter Color Zoom, we had to establish principals around what we should be looking for in our judging,” Moroney says. “We look for overall effect, yes, but also interpretation of the fashion statement, technique and overall appeal.”
The example Moroney uses is the Olympics: If your judging panel at Color Zoom isn’t made up of devoted hair professionals, it’s like inviting a makeup artist to judge the technical portion of gymnastics.
“Sometimes if you have celebrity judges, people who aren’t real, true hair-oriented professionals, then the scores get thrown out of alignment,” he says. In an effort to have all the regions represented—Europe, Americas, Asia—judges are selected from across the globe. For the second year running, MODERN’s Editor in Chief Alison Alhamed has the honor of serving as the U.S. International Judge, alongside the winners from last year, editors from global beauty press, and Goldwell ambassadors. Alhamed will be learning the judging ropes from MODERN’s Beauty and Fashion Director Maggie Mulhern, who has served as international judge for many years and was also a judge to determine each year’s semifinalists.
“For us, what’s super important is that we have people who know what to look for,” Moroney says. “We don’t want it to be fluffy or frivolous, we want to make sure that out of respect for the stylists and the work they do that we have a credible and credentialed panel of judges.”
HOW IS THE HOST CITY CHOSEN FOR INTERNATIONAL COLOR ZOOM?
Paris, London, Las Vegas, Sweden, Barcelona PLUS an inspirational artistic beauty show and competition? It sounds like a dream right? If you’ve ever attended Color Zoom (which happens during the weeklong event called Global Zoom), you know it feels like a dream, too.
“The host city has to be a place that has a fashion tie in, as well,” Moroney says. “It’s got to be someplace where we can make a big bang, and it needs to be strategically important for our business. As much as I’d love to go to smaller towns, I’m not sure it will drive big engagement with stylists.”
Of course it takes a lot of planning and expertise to put together an event that brings in thousands of international hairdressers looking for inspiration and fun (and to cheer on their country’s competitor, of course).
“When we investigate cities, it has to have cool venues in the center of the city that can accommodate us,” Moroney says. “It can’t just be a convention center. And safety is number one: We take our guests’ safety very seriously.”
2017 IN BARCELONA, SPAIN
2017’s Global Zoom event is in Barcelona, Spain. Three U.S Gold finalists will be competing for top honors on Sunday, October 2nd: Creative Colorist: Lauren Kocman, Hair by Scott & Co., in Delray Beach, FL; New Talent Colorist: Kylie Bussing, Aidan James Salon in Nashua, NH; and Partner Colorist: Mio Sota, Trio Salon. In Chicago. MODERN is so excited to be joining team Goldwell and we can’t wait to bring you the results of this year’s competition, and the debut of 2017’s trend collection!