NAHA is celebrating 25 captivating years this Summer, and we had the pleasure of speaking with Allen Ruiz, Aveda Global Style Director, who won NAHA’s Hairstylist Of The Year two times (2007, 2013) and won Salon Team of The Year with his salon, Jackson Ruiz in 2011!
Allen Ruiz is the owner of Jackson Ruiz Salon Spa based in Austin, Texas, and has worked with Aveda over the last 18 years. As a Global Guest Artist, show lead for New York Fashion Week, Editorial Stylist and an Aveda Purefessional, Allen is a passionate artist who has honed his skill and talent in every facet of the beauty industry. Collaborating on Aveda global campaigns, education collections and manufacturer advisory panels, Allen Ruiz is a pure voice within the industry and he was pleased to share his NAHA experience!
Allen said his decision to enter NAHA for the first time in 2007 and actually winning his first time at it was “career defining.” Leading up to the first time he entered, he had been attending a lot of the major hair shows and getting to meet the award-winning hairdressers, which made him aspire to be like them. Being around these amazing artists and wanting to be like them, was the pivotal point where Allen knew what he had to do. Allen described his winning as “surreal, I can’t even begin to describe how rewarding and what an honor it is to be recognized by the industry you live and breathe.”
The first time he entered and won NAHA in 2007 he said it almost seemed like a fluke, but the second time he won (this past year) was validating for him and ever so sweet after going through a very emotionally tough year, he accepted the award from his mentor, Antoinette Beenders, another surreal and very touching moment.
What inspired his winning collection last year? “I draw a lot of creative inspiration from fashion and pop culture (movies, music, celebrity, etc.) My vision for the shoot was 60’s “It” girls come undone. Women perfectly done-up that throughout their day, gradually unravel for a raw, sultry, dark, almost “moody” look & feel. The collection overall was inspired by that 50’s/60’s Americana-vibed H&M commercial featuring sultry songstress, Lana del Rey’s version of “Blue Velvet.” Lana, Adele and Amy Winehouse really influenced the look and feel of that collection… big teased-out hair, and smoldering cat eyes,” explained Ruiz.
Allen shared with us that one of his most memorable moments from NAHA was winning Salon Team of The Year with his salon Jackson Ruiz in 2011. It was their second time entering the Salon Team category, “it felt so amazing to be there with your team and seeing them succeed, it was very special,” said Ruiz.
So what exactly is the recipe for winning the coveted Hairstylist of the Year award? Allen simply stated DO WORK. He worked on hair as much as possible. Behind the chair, assisting on set, the more you do and see, the better and more confident you will become and he believe that truly is what makes a successful hairdresser, having the confidence in yourself and abilities to know you do great work.
His passion for hair and fashion and eagerness and drive to learn really helped him me to where he is today. Allen’s mantra is ‘what you put into this business is what you will get out of it’. “The best educators out there are the ones that make themselves accessible and are wiling to share anything and everything just to help someone else be successful. By giving it your all and being willing to invest in others, it truly helps you grow as an artist,” said Ruiz.
Which artists inspire him in his work? “Creative directors like Grace Coddington, Antoinette Beenders and Givenchy’s Creative director Riccardo Tisi inspire me. As do all of the amazing editorial artists out there like Paul Hanlon, Sam McKnight, and Teddy Charles to name a few. These artists have no rules except to deliver the vision of their Creative Director and the things they’re able to consistently achieve on one-length hair is pretty amazing,” Ruiz replied.
Allen has been very focused on his salon business and continuing to grow and expand Aveda’s styling curriculum. Their goal is to continue to attract and develop the top hair talent in the country through their training and advanced education programs. Allen’s partner and himself are hoping for a second salon location and are currently scouting locations in Austin, Texas. “I’m always staying busy and trying to continue to grow, inspire and do the best work possible.”