Texture on the Runway: from a lofty idea to a kick ass reality

This past weekend seems like a blur, albeit a fantastic whirlwind of textured hair love and celebration type of blur. Texture on the Runway was absolutely an amazing event and experience and I can’t believe that after five months of planning that it’s all over! It started back in September, maybe even August when we started throwing around the idea of a runway fashion show during New York Fashion Week. The idea evolved into a concept called “Texture on the Runway”: four brands showcasing five models apiece in a true runway fashion show. But instead of clothing and designers being the focus, of course, hair–textured hair–would be the starlette of the night. While the TextureMedia sales team busied themselves with the task of selecting and securing the five brands, I found myself at the helm of production and seeking inspiration for the show. I started attending runway shows in San Francisco, watching fashion documentaries, immersing myself in fashion blogs, gleaning the coverage from the Spring/Summer 2012 fashion weeks of NYC, Paris, and Milan and looking at the venues, catwalk design, lighting, music and all the things that make the guts of a fashion show. By December we had secured the majority of our brands, but before we got too deep into production, the holidays came and everything came to a screeching halt, but not before we had locked down our custom illustrations that would be the branding of the event:

After a three (!) week holiday break, January arrived and it was like jumping straight onto a train moving 90mph. Texture on the Runway was six short weeks away and there was an immense amount of work to do. Between 7am conference calls with stylists and 7pm calls with my production team, I worked with the TextureMedia crew to develop our marketing plan, budget, media strategy, and design elements that would scaffold the event. There were a lot of nuts and bolts involved, but also a TON of creativity on behalf of not only the TextureMedia team, but also the stylists involved from ARROJO, Curls Unleashed, Hair Rules, Matrix and Minardi.

Never have I been more aware of hair styling being an art form. The hair artists and creative teams involved are more like sculptors and painters than anything else. During these creative calls with the styling teams, I heard a frame work of their visions in their nascent stages, words like “neo-victorian, vintage glamour, 70’s Halston, technological revolution, and soulful” were all used to describe the various visions the artists were working to achieve.  I’m honored to have been able to connect with so many creative new stylists in this process: Amanda Jenkins from ARROJO, Mark Mileti and Stephen Wang from Minardi Luxury Color Care, Daniel Roldan and Nick Stenson from Matrix, Zac Britt and Willie Malone from Curls Unleashed and while I’ve known Dickey from Hair Rules for quite some time, it was good to work with him on this level of project.

After a last minute trip to Austin 2 weeks before the show, I found myself back in San Francisco for 30 hours of relaxation before making the trek across the country to New York. THIS, my friends, was go time. The days leading up to the show were filled with casting calls, wardrobing, PR meetings, production meetings, venue tours, and more emails and phone calls than I could ever ever fathom.

Curls Unleashed stylists check out the hair of a potential model during a casting call


Matrix Artistic Director Daniel Roldan feels the texture of the hair of a potential model during a casting call

Somehow, I made it through a roller coaster of a week to Saturday morning. I was up early, styling my hair before an 8am arrival at the ARROJO Studio where all of the brands were to get prepped. Slowly the stylists and the models–all 25 of them– started trickling in. By 11am, the place was in full swing with blow dryers sounding off, crimpers, curlers, and rollers flying, wardrobers steaming hot pants, and make up artists painting the faces of models in a variety of hues from monochromatic nudes to dramatic violets and teals. Volunteers showed up. Bloggers, vloggers, and magazine editors showed up. At one point there were as many DSLR cameras in the salon as there were blow dryers. I smiled to myself at how the models settled right into their chairs with their iPads, iPhones, textbooks, and Kindles. They had obviously done this before.

A Minardi stylist blowdries the crimps out of a models practice run


After five hours of styling, we made the one block sojourn to City Winery, the event venue, and arrived to mass chaos. 12 volunteers had been there for hours stuffing the 2 tons of products into gift bags (and were still working) signage was still being assembled and  we discovered that there was no way that the models and their creative teams could possibly fit into the assigned green rooms. Add that to the fact that we had 2 hours until the doors open and we needed to do a rehearsal. At one point I found myself lost in the underbelly of the labyrinth-like winery and had this fleeting “what in the world have I gotten myself into” thought. But I powered through it, put on my wireless head set that connected me with my backstage crew and video director and we made it through the rehearsal. By the time we had finished, the venue was in complete order everyone’s confidence was on point.  Hell yes. Showtime!

The event was a veritable who’s-who in hair soiree. Attendees traveled from the California, Seattle, Chicago, Texas, Atlanta, Boston, and even London. Everyone looked gorgeous in the sparkling candlelight of City Winery and my heart raced as we dimmed the lights for the runway show. As I settled into my running of the show from the sound board, sandwiched between the audio tech and video director, I realized that I was having just a WHALE of a time! IT WAS HAPPENING! AND IT LOOKED KICK ASS! As the models took their final walk to my favorite Korean pop jam, I couldn’t but just starting to dance and was grinning for ear to ear!


The rest of the night was a haze of flash photography, laughter, and an epic Whitney Houston dance party. I woke up early the next morning still on an intense adrenaline high from the night before. Texture on the Runway exceeded all of my expectations. It wasn’t just a party, or a show of pretty models, it was the zeitgeist of all of the work I’ve done and everything I’ve grown to believe in as a blogger in the natural hair community over the past couple years. I’m thrilled with how it all turned out and even more excited about all the feedback that has been pouring in. It was a lot of hard work to pull it off, but the result was absolutely worth it. I suppose you’re wanting to see some pictures of the whole shebang, well…don’t let me keep you!


Huge shout outs to my TextureMedia family, the sponsoring brands: ARROJO, Curls Unleashed, Hair Rules, Matrix, Minardi Luxury Color Care, Modern Salon, and CURLS, my amigos that traveled to make it to the show (Jeff from SF, Joanna from Boston, Felicia from LA, Mushiya from ATL, Pam from DC, Lukwesa from London),  Lenore for diving in at the last minute and playing such a crucial role in the night, Joy for all of her running up and down stairs, and of course YOU for reading!

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  1. What? No Kinky Curly? No Blended Beauty? ok

    • I know, it was a total bummer…Blended Beauty emailed just hours before the show and due to the weather couldnt make it! KC is on the West Coast and also couldn’t make it…two of my faves though!

  2. How amazing! Who coulda thought many years ago that we’d be celebrating hair textures and diversity like this? A triumph for all of us :) Congrats!

  3. So so proud of you!!! Already planning for next year.What a great black history month for me . Love you Cass

  4. your dress was great! looks like a ton of fun. Go curly!

  5. WHAT! You had NICK ARROJO???!!!!!The Natural Hair Movement has gone BIG! CONGRATS ON THE BIG ACHIEVEMENT!

  6. Where do I find these events, is there a blog or a site I have to sign up on to get notifications of these upcoming events?

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