Front Row: A Hair Education Festival of Epic Proportions

One minute into Front Row, and you know immediately it’s not your usual hair show. “Welcome to the Coachella of the hair world,” said Tev Finger, CEO of Luxury Brand Partners. The festival-style extravaganza of mainstage education, entertainment and inspiration took place on January 9-12 in Miami’s historic Wynwood Art District. The one-of-a-kind event showcased an array of cutting-edge talent from companies such as Oribe Hair Care, R+Co, V76 by Vaughn, and Smith & Cult. And what would a festival be without fun activities? Oribe held a golf tournament, Smith & Cult hosted a pool party and V76 organized a Tex Hold’Em celebrity poker tournament. Participants took selfies against highly stylized backdrops, DJ performances kept an energetic vibe going, and a beer garden with games and a local food truck fair added to the lively carnivale atmosphere.

The four-day production kicked off with a documentary screening of The Reset, hairstylist and filmmaker Howard McLaren’s highly anticipated look into the beauty industry. McLaren’s premise:  Exposing a fear-based resistance to innovation, resentment of the new generation, a broken licensing and education system, and historically unchallenged ideals of what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ in the industry. “We do this to celebrate the craft of hairdressers–to inspire and elevate our industry because change starts with education, learning and implementation,” says Dan Kaner, co-president of Oribe Hair Care.

Here are some of the highlights from this unique and interactive event:


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Mainstage Day 1

Hosted by Comedy Central’s Natasha Leggero, day one featured presentations from the Oribe Hair Care creative team. Ronnie Stam and Joey George crafted looks inspired by the graffiti of Miami’s Wynwood Walls. James Pecis gave insight into translating runway and editorial into education. Coby Alcantar presented the cutting segment, which was a mash-up inspired by Sassoon’s Firefly and Oribe’s use of the razor to create a softness. Special guests Nicci Welsh spoke about styling techniques and the use of hot tools while Vivienne Mackinder emphasized the importance of considering face shapes. Meanwhile, the Goldwell Master Color team demonstrated how to modernize blonde hair using iconic Hollywood blondes such as Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot as reference. But it was Kien Hoang who closed out the evening in a big way by re-creating the fabulous Cleopatra meets disco looks from The Blonds S/S 2016 show under a confetti rainfall.

Keynote Address with Jim Collins

Jim Collins, author of the bestsellers Good to Great and Built to Last, gave an insightful keynote message to the audience of salon owners, managers and stylists. Outlining 12 essential steps, he revealed how businesses and leaders make the leap towards achieving superior results. 


A forum for salon owners, managers and entrepreneurs, Idealogue allowed attendees to learn how to enhance their leadership skills. Sessions featured industry thought leaders like Jim Collins who spoke to the classic owner’s challenge of managing a creative staff while instituting discipline, and Simon Doonan, creative director of Barneys, who highlighted the importance of window dressing in transforming a salon’s look.

Butterfly Circus Class

Butterfly Circus—a traveling collection of some of the most well-known hairstylists and independent educators on social media—gave a special presentation of cutting, coloring and styling skills. The seven different instructors, who gave seven different lessons, included Founder and President of Butterfly Loft David Thurston, Alexis Thurston, Nina Kovner, Jay Wesley Olson, Jenny Strebe, Laura Kaszoni, and Rickey Zito.

Mainstage Day 2

Hosted by celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Antin, day two featured industry legend Vaughn Acord and the V76 team who took to the stage to talk about the explosion of the men’s grooming market and demonstrate looks of the well-groomed man. Dineh Mohajer, from Smith & Cult showcased the creativity of the latest trends and techniques in nail art. The IGK team of Chase Kusero, Aaron Grenia, Franck Izquierdo, Leo Izquierdo who exhibited various cutting, coloring and styling techniques, and ended their presentation with a 100 percent wax headdress with live lit candles.

Mainstage Day 3

Day three featured R+Co’s Collective made up of Howard McLaren, a hair industry pioneer credited with re-establishing the razor-cutting technique, Garren, an industry icon dubbed “The Godfather of Hair” by Vogue, and Thom Priano, famous for styling every “it” guy from Matthew McConaughey to Adam Levine. They each shared their industry perspectives while demonstrating the iconic looks of our generation.

About Luxury Brand Partners: Luxury Brand Partners develops and nurtures prestige artist-driven beauty brands, with a focus on innovation and a passion for the creative mind. With offices in Miami and New York City, our portfolio of companies offers high-performance products and top-of-the-line education informed by both an artistic and a business perspective. The management team has a long history of building iconic brands and leverages its knowledge of salon professionals and the end-consumer to create lines that meet their needs in new and exciting ways. For more information,