Sam Villa Considers a Change of “Fish Pond†Venue

In a way, my trips to London to attend Salon International have made me what I am today. So it’s a big deal for me to say that next year I’ll be going to Hair Expo instead.

As I did last month, I’ve been attending off and on since the very first Salon International in the 1970s, when Sassoon and other British hairdressers were elevating hairdressers’ status. London street fashion gives them greater license than we have in the more conservative U.S. market. So I gather the information and twist and turn it to make it fit what we do here. I come back rejuvenated, with awe at the brilliance of the artists and energy to take on the challenge of making the looks and techniques work for American hairdressers.

When I travel, I soak in the surroundings. This year I hung out at Spitalsfields Market on London’s newly hip east side, with its great young boutiques and restaurants. I enjoy watching shoppers, picking up model wardrobe for my shows and being inspired by fabrics and the fashions’ common themes. One warehouse had racks of designer clothing on sale. It was a big free-for-all!

I call my time abroad “filling the fish pond.†As educators, we have ponds full of fish for people to catch. How they use what we share determines how big their fish is. As time goes on, our pond empties, leaving only the smallest fish. When I feel that it’s time to clean my pond and nourish and replenish my fish so that people can catch good fish again, I go to Europe to hear the buzz, pick up new techniques, see trends and gather information shared from the stage.

This year’s Salon International was a good show, and I’ll go back sometime. But I’ve been hearing exciting things about the education at Hair Expo in Australia. Sometimes it’s just good to change your venue, and I’m changing mine. Still, I left London with useful information that I want to gel into something, and I’ll tell you all about it next time.