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When Less is More

Patrick McIvor | September 24, 2015 | 8:13 AM
Patrick McIvor

I was traveling last week, and when I was flipping through the channels in the hotel I came upon the movie 300. I had seen the movie years ago, sort of by accident at a friend’s house, but I was not really paying attention to it. This time in the hotel room, it was the leader of the Persian army whose entire face was pierced and adorned, was what I saw that made me stop. At this point I had no idea it was a movie I had seen before, I just couldn't figure out all of the places on his cheeks and chin he had pierced.

I sat there and I thought about two lessons from my youth. One when I didn't get a job because I had earnings…when they asked me to remove my earrings for the job I decided I would rather have my earrings over the job and declined the offer. Then a few years later, I was attending a conference on public speaking and designing a presentation in New York City and there were hundreds of people attending. I was wearing a white shirt, dress pants, had just shaved my head and I had four earrings in my left ear and one in my right. We were instructed to get up, walk around, and meet 4-5 people, introduce ourselves and then we were instructed to return to our seats. Once we returned, the gentleman leading the class asked us to write down the first thing we noticed about the people we met. And guess what everyone noticed about me? The earrings, NOT a shaved head - and this was before every man losing his hair shaved his head. 

That day, I returned home and removed two of the four earrings from my left ear, and 20 something years later the holes still remain, though unoccupied. I realized I didn't want to be “the guy over there with all the earrings,” I wanted to be seen and remembered, not something else. This lesson has been learned in other ways in my life where what I was doing got in the way of what I was there to do or trying to do. An example of this was when I first worked with Nick Arrojo about 20 years ago and did an incredibly complicated and time consuming, rooted color technique and Nick looked at it and said, “What’s that?” I’ve seen it with young artists that are better at spinning their blow dryers and scissors than they are at cutting or finishing hair. And, many of us have experienced it when we go to a themed dinner experience, or even sometimes at a hibachi restaurant, where the “show” gets in the way of the quality of food and service. Sometimes, because the song/act isn't finished, it doesn't mean the food still cooking wasn't done a while ago.

I’m starting to see this with haircolor in ads and online. When it appears that every color was used to create a melted rainbow, mermaid, dip-dyed, Caribbean sunset-inspired, hair painted color. Now, I LOVE new and I LOVE beautiful, and what we need to learn from the 1980’s is that less can be more. This time though, we don’t need to swing so far to the too much edge to have to be brought back to into balance by going so far to the basics, like during the days of grunge (no hairspray and no makeup for guys) and the very simple long highlighted hair that followed for more almost two decades.

The hope I have for us now is that style icon’s like J-Lo, SJP, Gwen Stefani, models like Naomi Campbell and fashion designers (most who were around in the 1980’s remember), show us that yes, girls (and boys) just wanna have fun, but they don’t need to look cartoonish too. Couture, though overly embellished, still makes you see the woman…the woman wears the clothes, they don’t wear her. When “more” becomes a distraction, it is the artist, no matter if they are a painter, tattoo artist, clothing designer, architect, interior designer or hairdresser, it is when they put down their tools that the work is done. And sometimes, it could have been five minutes before they actually but their tools down…a few strokes or cut too late we realize that with a little less, it was a whole lot better…sort of like the '80s.

CREDITS:

Photo Courtesy of ARROJO

Cut/Finish: Lina Arrojo

Color: Ali Eskridge and Zach Norman/ARROJO

Photographer: Pedro Zoo

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