As a former SASSOON Stylist, Cutting Instructor at the world renowned SASSOON Academy in Los Angeles, California and a SASSOON Academy Director in Miami, Florida Mike Varela decided he could no longer ignore a driving pull towards a new vision. After 10 years of experience in the industry he decided it was time to break away from SASSOON and create his own unique brand and The Kingly Hair Group was born.

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How did your training and background with Sassoon prepared you to venture out and create your own brand?

To be perfectly honest, it laid the whole foundation to what would become The Kingly Hair Group. From the actual technical training and instilment of the Sassoon philosophy to the approach of teaching and sharing knowledge. But most importantly the experience of running and heading up an Academy, as I did in Miami, was crucial to where I am now. I will always see Sassoon as the backbone & standard to which I will always stand on with my company, and will always be grateful for my time with such an amazing team.

 

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Our Interns are absolutely obsessed with your short haircuts. Where does your inspiration come from for them?

You know it’s funny that I’m always asked about “inspiration” for my work and I never really have a good answer. I know a lot of stylists find inspiration in photography, architecture, art, etc… but I’m just not wired like that. Maybe I’m just not as cool as all of them, and I wish I had some deep artsy intellectual answer to that question, but I just create what I wish I was seeing at that moment. Though I will stress that I never do something just to do it.

I ALWAYS take suitability into account. From actual physical features & textures to lifestyle, It has to work for who I’m cutting on. That always gives me a firm assessment on what I can do and how far I can push design. I love strong geometry that incases softness and texture and I always try to create a focal point into the look. I love working on short lengths because the smallest things can make a big statement. So I challenge myself a lot by trying to achieve a classic look through a creative design, then that usually steers me to my final result which at times turns out being anything but classic.

 

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Tell us a little about The Kingly Hair Group.

The Kingly Hair Group is actually 3 fold. First and foremost is The Kingly Academy where I continue to share the same knowledge & experience that I was teaching during my time at Sassoon through in-salon seminars and trainings around the U.S., as well as private and group trainings at my studio in West L.A..

Secondly in The Kingly Style House, a private “by appointment only” studio salon in the heart of the Westwood area of West Los Angeles. This year I’m focused on continuing to building the team and expand the salon and hopefully outgrow our current location.

And thirdly is The Kingly Shear Company where we’re focusing on releasing a line of high end quality shears specifically designed for precision cutting. Last year we released our first model The Kingly Scepter to a great response and have sold out of our first 2 runs.

 

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You recently posted SECTIONING-“The Technical Blueprint” , and we couldn’t agree more. What other advice would you give to stylists in creating the ultimate haircut?

It was amazing how much response I got from that post. I’m a firm believer that what we do as cutters is and should be an exact science. There should never be any guessing going on. I don’t care how shattered or creative a look is, I truly believe that there has to be a strong architectural foundation to it for it to last.

Many that know me, know how strong my opinion is on the age old debate of  “craft vs art”, especially when it comes to hair. Randomly creating or ending up at something should not be good enough. You have to know how to get that vision in your mind come to fruition technically through your hands. Whether it’s a flawless classic look or a collection-worthy creative shape, I teach a simple principle: “Master Craftsmanship coupled with Creative Brilliance yields True Art”…

 

We love the edginess of the looks you create. Would you say edgy is your specialty?

I wouldn’t say “edgy” is necessarily a specially nor a preference. Most of the work I put out is usually the more aesthetically creative for visual sake. But to me there is nothing more beautiful or that I enjoy more than flawless classic work. Especially since, to do it right, it takes such discipline. Anyone can do something edgy, but I joke with my assistants saying that if they wanna impress me, create a pure line bob that I can cut my finger on. So if I have a specialty i would say it’s “precision” rather than a specific “look”…

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What can people expect to see from you on stage at the Come2Gether event?

I really want to give them a quick and punchy good show that will leave them not only inspired creatively but also eager to want to continue to seek the education that will enable them to do what they see up on stage. For inspiration of the actual work I’m tossing ideas that revolve around a futuristic scope, and I really want the music and visuals to coordinate well, so spending lots of time in the mixing and editing of the content. After all, it’s a show right?!

 

What about this event made you want to participate?

For me, it is an opportunity to work with and showcase some of my work with absolutely amazing hairdressers that I’ve always admired and also seen an mentors. As an educator, I’m truly happy at the opportunity to help benefit the amazing organization that is Beauty Changes Lives. I’ve been aware of BCL since Sassoon’s involvement with the organization when I was still with the Academy and anything I can do to help others experience this amazing industry the way I have is worth doing.

 

I knew I was a Hair Nerd when….

… I took that first pair of scissors to my own head without a clue of what I was about to do…

 

You can stalk Mike Varela on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Hairbrained

Don’t miss Mike on stage at the Come2Gether event on February 8, 2014 at 7:00pm in San Diego at the Moniker Warehouse.  Buy your tickets HERE.