Roundtable Discussion: HVA3 Winner, Adam Federico, and ZGAT


When you join Hairbrained, you can expect to experience a different kind social media: one that includes a steady mixture of image sharing, expert advice and networking. And we’re proud to say, we’ve built a pretty tight-knit community. Through this community, we hope to help you to take control of your career. Here, you can build and spread your brand, share your art, plus contribute to the success of others – and most importantly, create lasting connections with other artists.

This years HVA Video of the Year award winner, Adam Federico for Federico Advanced and AJF Salon, can attest to the power of the Hairbrained community. In his long-standing role as a top community member, he’s forged important connections – including the connection that made it possible for him to bring the Croatian team, ZGAT, to the United States.


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During ZGAT’s two-week stay in the United States, Adam built a bond with Ivana Spicer and Mario Mesaric, Manger and Creative Director of ZGAT’s world-renowned artistic team. Together, they created what would ultimately be HVA3’s Video of the Year. In our opinion, the powerful and inspiration imprint this video makes will last a lifetime. Here, get a little insight into what drives Adam, Ivana and Mario creatively, in this exclusive roundtable discussion.

Adam for Federico Advanced: When you first joined Hairbrained, you focused primarily on behind the chair work, and implementing advanced education for your salon’s staff. How did you make the leap into Federico Advanced, which is advanced education for the masses?

Throughout my career, I have a quote that I’ve lived by, and it’s ‘Evolve or dissolve.’ I look at it like this: life is constantly changing and moving, and what serves to inspire is never the same two days in a row. To stay inspired, you have to be willing to grow and shift; you have stay true to yourself. But to stay true to yourself, you really have to pay attention. Over the years, I’ve used Hairbrained to stay focused and on top of my craft. Before this community, there was really no way to stay connected. Through this community connection, I realized there was a real need for all-inclusive education. I’ve always been a huge believer in education, that’s what I’ve always been about. There was a gap, and I wanted to help fill it. Federico Advanced brings the best artists from around the world to educate members of our craft, regardless of their skill level or origin. I think that’s really special.       

Adam for Federico Advanced: What inspires you to pursue education, and to in turn educate others?

Without education, there is no growth. If you’re not growing, you’re dying – stagnation is really very dangerous. I’m always looking for ways to get educated. I believe in giving back, and education is a great way to do this, but it’s a two way street: when you educate, you’re giving and getting at the same time. It’s a synergistic relationship. Ultimately, when I select artists to come to Federico Advanced, I pick people that I’d like to learn from, what I consider ‘the greats’ of our time. Over the years, we’ve had ZGAT, Gerard Scarpaci, Mazella & Palmer, DJ Muldoon and ARROJO, just to name a few. Hosting these artists has been amazing, and I always try to take the opportunity to learn from them, myself.    

Adam for Federico Advanced: You first became aware of ZGAT and their work via Hairbrained. At what point did you decide you wanted to be the first advanced education house to bring them to the Unite States?

When I created my 2015 educational calendar, I included international artists on my wish list for the first time. I’m a huge fan of ZGAT’s work, its just perfection – they really have their own unique aesthetic. I was lucky enough to get in touch with Ivana of ZGAT; that first connection was crucial. Frankly, I’m just so personally inspired by their work, I thought, who wouldn’t want a chance to learn from them? The class was one of the best I’ve ever hosted or taken, to date. Mario and Ivana are two of the most down to earth and humble people that you’ll ever meet, plus of course, wildly talented. If you ever have an opportunity to take one of their classes, I highly recommend it! You can view our upcoming classes at       

Ivana for ZGAT: What was it like working with Adam?

It was perfect, working together. Adam raised the bar for everything and everyone else. Though securing a visa to get into the United States was a difficult process, Adam made everything seem easy. He was wonderful to work with.

Ivana and Mario for ZGAT: You have a unique approach to hairdressing, branding it as art. Can you explain how you view your craft?

Hairstyling is an art form; it’s a design not a cut, says Ivana. We look at the act of cutting hair as creating a sculpture, a form of art to be worn on the head, she adds. A cut and the color are artistic forms in and of themselves, and the individual gives them mobility and life, thus creating a new form of art, explains Mario. Before we cut someone’s hair we talk with him or her, we really get to know the client or model, as a person, says Ivana. This helps with suitability. We don’t just look at bone structure, texture and age; we want to know what you do for a living (this can tell a lot about a person) and what kind of music you listen to, she explains. We really want to get a sense for what kind of person you are, so we can personalize the art, and make it unique to the wearer.    

Adam for Federico Advanced: How did you initially conceptualize your award winning video with ZGAT, and how did you feel when you won the HVA3 Video of the Year award?

It was really an organic process. Before Ivana and Mario came to Federico Advanced, I knew that I wanted to create a video with them, but I didn’t really have a solid idea what that would look like. After watching them teach the first set of classes, I knew that their philosophies needed to be shared on a larger platform. I think that the set is perfect; its stark and raw and minimal – a great contrast to the impactful ideas that ZGAT shares. After that, it all kind of came together naturally. I was in shock when I won Video of the Year! There were a ton of great videos, created by amazing artists. Though I felt very honored to win the award, in a way, I feel like I was accepting it on behalf of the ZGAT team. It was a collaborative effort, in the truest sense; we worked as a team. Every element that went into the video made it what it is.        

Ivana for ZGAT: How did you feel when you found out about the HVA3 award?

We were proud, but we don’t really feel any ownership over the video. Though it was a joint project, Adam is really the guy behind the finished product. He came up with the concept for the shoot, and he made it all happen. Though we play the video during our classes, we’ve really only watched it once (when Adam first sent it to us). I don’t know why, but it’s a little embarrassing to see yourself on film.

Ivana for ZGAT: Do you have a favorite quote?

I have two. They are: “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary,” ~ Vidal Sassoon. And, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future,” ~ The Lord of the Rings.

Mario for ZGAT: Do you have a favorite quote?

“Insufficient facts always invite danger,” ~ Spock, Star Trek.

Adam for Federico Advanced: Do you have a favorite quote?

Aside from my personal motto ‘evolve or dissolve,’ I love this quote: “Perfect is repeatable. Imperfect is perfect.”

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About: Hairbrained is a community of hairdressers that share a deep passion and desire to celebrate the craft of hairdressing, online socially.The community was founded by two hairdressers, Randy Taylor, a photographer / hairdresser; and Gerard Scarpaci, a world-class educator/platform artist. Both have love for our industry; its people, and the craft of hairdressing. For more information visit

First two images by Nicholas Wray/ second two images by Randy Taylor