The 6 National semi-finalists in the Shu Uemura Gallery of Style competition have been selected and we were in NYC to meet them. Yuki Yasui is a stylist at Dop Dop Salon in NY and sat down with us to share his experience and passion for hairdressing in this outstanding competition.
Yuki is competing to win a professional photo shoot and immersion in Tokyo, the brand’s city of origin and continued source of inspiration. He was challenged to interpret the contest theme, “Tokyo Vibe,” by bringing to life Tokyo’s harmonious contradiction of sense of ritual and extreme attention to detail.
Did you already know the brand Shu Uemura from your life outside the U.S.?
“I’m from Japan. But what I saw there wasn’t like what you have here. Here we have the hair products, the shampoos and the oils; it’s something we didn’t have in Japan. So when I came to New York it was a surprise to see so much variety in the Shu Uemura portfolio because I was used to having just the make-up and basic tools. I had been working in Japan for six years when I came to New York, so I’ve been in the States for about seven years now. If I win I get to go back to Tokyo, see family and friends… so it is exciting!“
Tell me about the differences you see for a hairstylist working in Japan and working here.
“It’s a very good question! You know, Japanese people have, crazier hair. The texture is different, much thicker, and darker than black. In New York, there are many types of hair and almost everyone has it prepared in some way. That’s the main difference. The look here is very bourgeois when it comes to haircolor, because of the many types of hair you find in the City. So that’s why styles and looks keep changing each month. The best thing about being in NY is my boss at Dop Dop Salon, Jo Blackwell.”
What do you feel about this outstanding competition?
“This is my first time entering this competition because I love Shu Uemura products. My manager told me about this and I immediately though ‘This is a good opportunity.’ Since I came here from Japan, I’d never attempted any competition before.“
So you had more knowledge about the theme because the competitors were asked to be inspired from Tokyo life, and the only one who actually knows about that life is, well, you!
“Yeah, that’s one of the main reasons for me applying to this competition, because I know the Japanese culture. I was born and raised in Japan. Maybe, you know, I know the old Japan and it might give me an edge. ‘Tokyo vibe’ to me is inspired from Tokyo fashion and from the Japanese people. My inspiration also came from nature in Japan. We have our little islands, our little mountains, our little people, our little sea. My inspiration comes from deep within Japan.“
THE INSPIRATION: “I was inspired by Japanese nature. The fluidity of waves, the forest and mountains were all aspects in my creation.“
THE PRODUCTS: “I used Ample Angora, Wonder Worker, Texture Wave, Sheer Lacquer.“
Three U.S. Finalists will be announced in the next days and the three Global Winners will be announced in September 2016… check back with us for more updates on the talented Semi-Finalists!