21 May 2022

Color Vision – Estetica Exclusive with Wella Professionals’ Andreas Kurkowitz

During the very anticipated 2017 International TrendVision Award in London, Estetica Magazine had the pleasure of meeting some incredibly talented people from the Wella Family at this career-defining event!

Wella Professionals’ New Global Color Creative Director Andreas Kurkowitz is a color master that not only works behind the chair, but he is also responsible for some of the most notable editorial work in the fashion industry, making him a valuable asset to a color company as prestigious as Wella Professionals. He highlights Wella Professionals new technique which is called “nontouring,” countercultures new style of hair coloration which comes just in time for a refreshing change from 2017’s color contouring trends using Wella. We met up with him backstage where we were able to pick his brilliant mind about forecasting the trends for 2018 as well as his journey with Wella and trendsetting for the modern man!

How did you feel being at TrendVision Awards for the first time in front of a global audience as Global Color Creative Director?
It was great, there are so many creative hairstylists, it’s a great environment. I do feel a sense of responsibility but everyone was super helpful, the team is very nice. So, there is pressure but in a kind way, they don’t tell me go do your job and do it right. It’s a great combination of people working together, it feels like a family. So far it has been very positive.

Can you explain to us the journey from ultra-contouring to nontouring is it a type of disruption or like an illusion, what do you think?
The main difference between contouring and nontouring is that, in contouring, you’ve got harder lines and I’m afraid it’s a bit more structured. Nontouring is all about soft lines, and the skin almost flows into the hair, so that was the idea between the two. If you have a strong haircut, this is a great way to soften the lines, so it’s about really understanding the haircut and work the color out after that.

Tell us what’s your inspiration for the next seasons, both Summer 2018/Winter 2018.
For next year in summer, we want something bright but soft, like a natural fade; but for the winter, the idea is to layer similar colors on top of each other to get an iridescent color. A concept where if you get close it is many colors, but if you move away the color looks like a cohesive shade. The colors in winter 2018 are much cooler shades; you’ve got charcoal greys, cool red shades, and then of course the mood colors.

How do you feel about working with Wella?
Obviously as a colorist, the most important things are your tools, and I am so please I got the opportunity now to work with Wella. I have been using Wella for a couple of years now and it wasn’t just my choice, for years it was also the choice of my clients. When I started my training, I had to stick to one brand, so when I went freelance, I was able to work with shades and more colors – I really enjoy it because it is so easy to use, the color really does what you expect it to.

What designers do you recommend other hairstylists to follow to keep up with trends that their clients may be asking for?
Right now, what I like is men’s fashion shows. At the moment, you don’t see haircuts as much on the runways. Everything is a bit undone and just more of a trim, but with men’s show’s, you can see more haircuts. That is something interesting to follow, and they play with a lot of color as well.

Do you envision men coming in for more color services in the coming season?
I always have my male clients. Unfortunately, the looks that I work with are not so experimental – they want very natural looks or to cover their greys. But the clients in East London, for example, you see a lot of boys that are up for color, especially the younger designers. When I did art school, there was also a young designer, when I did their show there were so many with long colored hair, it was great. So, I think the younger generation really plays with color, and for them it’s a fashion thing and it’s completely genderless and honestly quite fun!

Which colorists shaped you?
Definitely Peter Dawson, because the person who trained me first was a friend of Peter. I think that gave me a lot of Peter’s background, and I also think he did a workshop in London with Tracey Hayes, so it’s all related to Sassoon.

What are your favorite techniques to use?
I like to mix many techniques together, so it depends on what the clients want. I know in the States it’s very common to use the balayage for instance.”

What do you look for when trying to forecast new trends, and what’s your favorite current look?
With trends, it’s something that develops over time, because then you have one little idea and then, you’ve got attention and the influence. And you see the changes on social media – what is there now, do you want to change it, do you want to develop it, and somehow, you’ve got a good idea. I think it’s important to get input from the whole team. What is the hair color like and does it work with the cut? Was there something we did six months ago that we can use? So, there’s a lot that goes on in the creative process and inspiration can really come from anywhere; from music to fame, to street style and of course fashion.

Is there a particular product that you love to use?
About 80% of the time I use Illumina Color, because my clients don’t like to use anything warm, they want a cool undertone.

What advice you give tor hairdressers who are looking to break into the celebrity hairdresser industry, or maybe even to get to a level like you have reached at Wella?
I think the most important thing is to be open minded to everything! I say this because a lot of people start out with big companies and then you get pushed into this one direction because they have this philosophy, which I think is good for a strong foundation, but you sort of need to break out and be open to other suggestions and techniques. If you want to work with a designer, maybe they are interested in a look that is very graphic, very Sassoon with statement colors, and you may be the perfect person to create that look. But if they change their mind you have to also be able to change and create this other look. So that’s why you can’t always stick to your one theme. That’s the most important thing to be open minded: sometimes you see a look that is completely weird and not your taste but after a few tries, you can better understand the person who wants to have that look.

How do you see the US market compared to the European market, in terms of haircolor?
It depends on where you are. In Europe there’s so many different cultures and in the States, you have New York and L.A., so you can’t just say. In East London, you have these crazy styles, and then in West London, which is where I work a lot, you see people creating nice blondes, but overall, I would say that now people everywhere are much more inclined to experiment with color.

You have already worked with Eugene Souleiman before, what do you expect from a collaboration with such an iconic hairdresser?
A lot of fun! I met Eugene a couple of years ago and I just loved watching him because he’s a proper artist now and has really mastered a lot. He’s great to look at for inspiration, and he always has a vision. The great thing about Eugene is he always wants to push things, so if we have a show, he will suggest showing it to the designer, even if they didn’t ask for it. Sometimes when you work with people, they just tell you what they want and get the job done. With Eugene, he says, why don’t you try this? And then we experiment, even if the designers end up rejecting it, at least we tried it; he’s open to things and asks, “why not?” There’s that bond where everything is possible and everything should be tried! I love it! He’s such a nice person and is very supportive. When you think of his journey and all the experience he has, but at the same time he’s very down to earth, you can’t go wrong really.

You color in a number of different places, being a colorist allows you to work in different environments, would you say you have a particular color philosophy or style that you are known for?
I think it’s a quite difficult question: I think I may have a particular style at the moment but in six months I’ll have a different vision. I guess it’s like a seasonal philosophy at times.

Does your editorial work influence what you do behind the chair and viceversa? How does that relationship work?
Of course, it does, there’s always fashion, we like to be back in the studio working on our clients. And of course they come in with an Instagram picture of the latest trend of my show and it’s sometimes hard to put the look from the catwalk to the salon. Although there are definitely places and elements that you can take to the salon. And sometimes it’s the other way around, the designers want a street concept so I think it feeds both ways.


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