1ON1: After the Awards: Jules Tognini

Real men do eat quiche and they also shower in the ocean. They don’t feel the need to shave for fancy functions and sometimes they don’t wear shoes! While this is an inspiration that may feel a little tongue-in-cheek to some, the grit and realness behind Jules Tognini’s award-winning Men’s Hairdresser or Barber of the Year collection, it sums up Jules perfectly. He’s down to earth, comfortable in his own skin and doesn’t take things too seriously. But he is serious about what he loves which is creating real looks with real people that translate to real education.

Jules is the son of hairdressers who spent most of his childhood in salons. He grew up not wanting to be a hairdresser. When he finished school he wanted to go and do his own thing so he saved his money and went to South America for a year long surf trip. While he was traveling, he realized he didn’t trust anyone but his dad to cut his hair so he started chopping into it himself. This lead to him doing haircuts in Costa Rica for beer money and the rest, as they say, is history. When Jules returned from his travels, he was broke and applied for an apprenticeship with his father, Benni Tognini, who said “Yes!”

Clearly that yes and Jules’ decision to get into the industry was the right decision.

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“It has been more than seven years since I started hairdressing and I will never look back,” says Jules.

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Winning one award at Hair Expo is a big deal, but for Jules, he hit the trifecta. He was nominated for and won “Men’s Hairdresser or Barber of the Year,” “Educator of the Year,” and “Photographic Collection of the Year.” “I am the most chuffed human ever. Someone told me the other day I am the first person ever to win three personal Expo awards in one year. I just about fell off my chair. It’s such an unbelievable feeling and really hard to explain. All I can say is ‘YAHOO!!!!’”

After the awards, I caught up with Jules and asked him the following:

How did you translate your inspiration into the actual looks?

Well first things first, I used real guys. These are clients, friends and randoms. These are guys that just own their look and don’t care about what anyone else thinks. I love black and white photography and really dig dark moody lighting, so we mixed it all together and “BOOM” there you have it. QUICHE EATERS!

How long did it take to take this collection from inspiration to reality?

[Laughs] Well, I don’t like to dwell on things for too long, so maybe 2-3 weeks.

Why did you choose this specific team to work with?

I have been working with the same crew for the last 3-4 years. We all just really like jamming and I feel we all understand each other, and we have a damn good time doing it.

What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome on this shoot?

I shot the collection on a Saturday in the salon while we were open.  As you can see most of the models aren’t wearing shirts so it really distracted the staff and clients. I think the staff all ran two hours late.

What one thing about this collection are you most proud of?

We nailed the lighting that day for a non-studio shoot.

If you had to describe this collection in only 3 words, what would those be?

New, modern and male.

Which image is your favourite one from the collection and why?

The dude covered in tattoos with the short side and curly top. Can’t really go past this image.  It was the third shot we took on the day and it was the first time the model (who is a client) had ever modelled before for a photo shoot. Pretty good for a first timer. He is currently palming off offers from modeling agencies and women wanting to have his babies.

You have an iconic hairdresser as a father, what’s the best thing your dad taught you about the industry?

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Talk to them all, but only kiss the pretty ones. [Laughs] And always stay humble and don’t believe your own hype!

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Do you think there is a specific style to Australian hairdressers and if so what is it?

I am lucky enough to travel the world with my job, but I always see myself coming back to Australian hairdressing to draw ideas, inspiration and get my hair stoke.

I think it is because Australia has got hairdressing blood from all over the world living here (or maybe I am just biased).  We are far, far away from everyone else so we have to really stand up and jump up and down on our chairs to get noticed.