Shaun McGrath, master hairdresser and creator of Avant Garde wigs and hairpieces, sits down with Destroy the Hairdresser to reveal his new collection: The Wilderness. Shaun is with Stevie English Hair Salons, Bondi, and is a finalist in Avant Garde Hairdresser of the Year in the Australian Hair Fashion Awards. He has previously been featured as the debut of our Master Series Conversations in the piece Witchcraft and Wiggery.
DTH: Why a collection and why now?
Shaun: I have spent my hair career focusing on single image, one statement piece, with the occasional spattering of editorial for good measure. But now I find myself in a salon with the perfect creative team for me; passionate, driven, slightly mental, all the good stuff that makes up the Stevie English Hair team. So really the people around me have inspired me to put together this collection now.
DTH: The colors in the collection reflect a feel that is both earthly and ethereal. What drives your color choices?
Shaun: The Color pallet for this collection was inspired by nature; a field of lavender, mountain sides in the fall, decaying roses, weathered coastal branches, moss, and groves of mushrooms I wanted the coloring to reflect these places.
DTH: You are known for unconventional materials in your pieces. What do you have in this collection?
Shaun: I wanted to take my years of using objects behaving as hair and spin it around into hair behaving as objects, I wanted to create textures and form that felt un-hair like, and the best thing about this collection is it is sustainable- 90% of the hair used in this collection was sweep up from the floors of Stevie English Hair the other 10% recycled from old projects, I want aspiring hair artists to realise that putting together a hair collection or art isn't just for the stylists that can afford to buy in enough weft to do it. Find yourself a photographer from a local arts collage, use your friends as models, create free hair, and go shoot, kids!
DTH: What is the process for making your wigs?
Shaun: It all starts with tiny experiments, manipulating handfuls of hair, seeing how far you can push hair as a fabric, then some of those fabrics are chemically destroyed and re processed to get some really interesting textural chaos. It about the experiment, and the experiments will fail and fail and fail,then get a little better, and better... You know where this is going . The process is the experiment and if it works or not, I get better at it.
DTH: What was your inspiration?
Shaun: I wanted the collection to reflect the beauty of the natural world, I believe that avant garde hair is to hairdressing what haute couture is to fashion and it should be beautiful not weird, the is a lot of work that I see and think "wow! That's clever , and fuck it's ugly!" Why not work on "wow! That clever, and fuck it's beautiful "... Much better.
DTH: Does the collection have a name