The upcoming season of Denver Fashion Week (DFW) is near with a week of runway shows set to take place at the Sports Castle, a Non Plus Ultra Venue, from November 12-20. This year, DFW will partner with The Southwest Hairstyling Awards (SWHA) for a runway show focused on intricate hair designs.
Both DFW and SWHA promote local and regional creativity through fashion and beauty, making the partnership a celebration of immense talent. The hair show on Sunday, Nov. 13 will showcase runway presentations from several local area salons, as well as two separate runway segments from last year’s Hair Colorist of the Year, Luis Gonzalez of Vida Salons (Cherry Creek and the Highlands), and the Hairstylist of the Year, James Mucker of Salon Utopia (Cherry Creek).
Featuring Elijah Bleu for Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare, Birch Salon, Nyla Nassar, Ashley Smith, Beauty Vision 303, Vida Salon x Luis Gonzales, Salon Utopia x James Mucker, and celebrity stylist Peter Gray, the annual award celebration hosted by SWHA will now take place on the DFW runway.
For eight years, SWHA has recognized talent in hair industries in the southwest region of the United States. Under the umbrella of Hair Awards USA (HAUSA), the country is split into five regions celebrating hair artists on a regional scale. Established by beauty professionals in the industry, SWHA aims to uplift hair artists and celebrate the evolving talent in the southwestern states, including Colorado.
“Our ethos is about beauty professionals supporting and growing one another. Our platform creates a level playing field for stylists and makeup artists of any experience level to submit their work and receive deserved recognition,” said Lynda Baker, founder of Southeast Hairstyling Awards (SEHA) and co-founder of HAUSA. “This recognition helps create a stronger professional position in their home communities. The individual’s ability to market themselves, their team and their salon or spa as either a finalist or a winner with an award of this caliber could be life-changing.”
Baker is excited to bring the talent that makes up SWHA to the DFW stage. Hair styling is a crucial aspect of the fashion industry and plays a major role in runway shows. While celebrating the local hair industry, this partnership will also bring the unique nature of behind-the-scenes creativity to the DFW audience. Especially when many everyday people incorporate hair and makeup into their daily lives.
“The invitation to join DFW reminded us that hair and makeup play a bigger role in our lives than just the daily successes of beauty professionals behind the chair,” Baker added.
While the DFW show is an exciting venture for SWHA, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the organization. In January 2022, the founder stepped down and many expected the organization to crumble as a result. However, Tara Nalty, owner of Arrow Beauty and Arrow Too salons in Denver, stepped up and was appointed the new Director by the HAUSA Board of Directors. The awards celebration at DFW will be her first time putting on the event.
Judging for the SWHA is an articulated process. The awards aim to give feedback to participants rather than criticism. Therefore, the judging panel is made up of seasoned professionals in the industry.
“We believe strongly that anyone confident enough to enter their work should have the honor of having their work exposed to the most critical of eyes,” Baker said.
This year’s judges include celebrity stylist Chris MacMillan, well-known photographer Luis Alvarez and masters in the industry Eugene Souleiman, Peter Gray, Ruth Roche, Beth Minardi, Sharon Blain, Tippy Shorter and Gerard Scarpaci.
The deadline to enter the SWHA is Oct. 2. Licensed beauty professionals are encouraged to email their entries to [email protected]. Each category holds different criteria that can be found on the SWHA website. However, all categories require a collection of three looks, including before and after photos as well as raw photos if the final image was digitally retouched.