Chumba Salon: And Beyond

Wade Blackford from Chumba Salon in Australia has created a collection that pushes the envelope and hovers between hair, fashion, fantasy and a mixed media gallery exhibit. It’s rousing, breathtaking, theoretical and eloquently titled, “And Beyond.”

“The concept and inspiration for this collection was to push black and white to the very edge and beyond,” explained Blackford. “It ventures right up to the edge of fantasy with its feet squarely planted in the world of fashion.” Taking cues from the black and white works from iconic photographer Helmut Newton, and tapping into his creative and quite resourceful inventive mind, Blackford treated this more like an art project than creating a collection. “I challenged myself to find everyday items and incorporated them into the hair.” A challenge, it was indeed. It took roughly six months to create and as he explained, “it came to fruition with many long days taken to create each individual piece.”

From a distance, each image looks very avant-garde and untouchable. But look closer and you’ll see just what Blackford means by using everyday items: pipe cleaners, multiple wigs repurposed and even forks. Yes, forks. Something that proved to be one of the most challenging tasks when creating “And Beyond.”

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I had to try so many variations placing the forks that it almost didn’t work. I almost gave up on the idea, but I persevered and I think it turned out great.

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When you’re a hairdresser who creates collections, a challenge you often face, and a question you repeatedly get asked is, “How can the inspiration from this shoot be translated into a wearable trend?” Blackford summed it up perfectly with, “I set myself up to create an avant-garde shoot that pushed the boundaries, but was still a fashion story and not pure fantasy. I think inspiration can be taken in the form of not how women are wearing their hair, but in deciding to be adventurous and trying something new like wearing head pieces or wigs. Celebrities do it all the time so why not?”

And much like a parent who has their “favorite child,” we asked Blackford, “Which image is your favorite from the collection and why?” His reply, “It has to be the triple wig. Again, it was a long process in which I stitched three wigs on top of each other. The very first wig is stitched in upside-down and placed on the head. I just love the shape and texture of it.”

When you study each image individually, you see that this collection was created by someone who had a multitude of concepts he wanted to achieve and express. From paying homage to one of the most renowned photographers to pushing his own  internal creative boundaries, “And Beyond” is a series of images that has clearly encapsulates devotion to the craft and originality.