50 shades (and cuts) of Gray
They say you’re born with it – style that is. In that case, hair stylist Damian Gray of Fruition Style Ambition salon in Brisbane was always going to be named Queensland Hairdresser of the Year at the Australian Hair Fashion Awards, even at the youthful age of 23.
This is the part where you cannot judge a book by its cover, because Damo, as the current reigning Queensland hair champion prefers to be called, is not your average style leader. He’s deadest anti-cool in a way even the hippest of baristas and surfers can’t achieve.
A strong gust of wind would blow him over, and he sports a spectacular long, Farrah Fawcett-wavy, strawberry mullet. Let that sink in. He has a smile that would light up London and he’s not afraid to use it, and he’s completely and wonderfully real. When he picks up scissors and a comb, he transforms into a total style boss.
Here’s how he made it to be number one in an industry that’s bursting with style wanna-bes and competitive cutters.
Damo’s actually a surfy at heart, growing up in the small beachy Mudjimba, between Coolum and Maroochydore. It’s the sort of beach joint where everyone actually does know your name. He loves sand between his toes and salt in his eyes.
At 15 and in grade 10, he started his apprenticeship after doing just one week of work experience at House of George on the coast. Even though he started like all apprentices – sweeping the floor, sorting coffees and watching everything and everything – he was hooked immediately. It was the energy that got him. And the creativity. It also made the years of butchering his sister’s Barbie dolls’ hair make sense!
He stayed at House of George his entire apprenticeship. There’s another thing– he’s loyal and he doesn’t run if life throws a few colourful grenades his way.
Two months after completing his apprenticeship, he looked to the bright lights of Brisbane and at 19 years old found himself looking for a salon, and a mentor, that was fast-paced, ahead of the style curve and brave. He found it in Fruition, one of the country’s most awarded salons led by Craig Smith, a bloke who similarly loves a mullet, treads his own path of independence and waves off stereotypes quicker than a seagull steals a hot chip on a sunny coast beach.
Just over three years later and Damo is Queensland Hairdresser of the Year.
Damo said he viewed hairdressing as an art-form. “Every single person who I see is a canvas. Sometimes it’s touching up what is already there, other times it’s starting all over again. Art is human and hairdressing is the perfect example of living art. This makes every moment exciting, and a challenge.”
He also said hairdressing was his daily adrenaline hit. “Creating takes energy and adrenaline – and with new clients coming in all the time, the conversations, the collaborations and the creativity means my adrenaline is always flowing. I literally don’t need anything else.”
As to the future, Damo said he’s too busy living in the now.
“I’ve already had some pretty incredible experiences. In my apprenticeship I started doing photographic shoots for local boutiques, met many people and began working on fashion festivals. This is where the cutting edge literally is! I’ve been part of national campaigns that have been on billboards all over the country, with the images even featuring on the ELLEN show in the USA.”
“But really, I’ve only just begun and Fruition is where it’s at; and it’s where I’m at.”
Gray on Shades of Blonde!
Australians LOVE being ahead of the style curve. We are a fashion-forward and very brave lot down under, which is brilliant as we can forge new styles and trends, and watch the world catch up. If there’s a new style of blonde, you better believe Aussies will take it and run!
Whether it be Golden blonde, beached blonde, ash, strawberry, icy, dirty, shadow, caramel, golden dirty, cream soda, butter, striped, gradient, rose gold or champagne blonde… I’ll guarantee Aussies will embrace it.
PLUS – with hair colour technologies and products so incredibly advanced now, we can all have a one-night stand with BLONDE and any colour of the spectrum any time we want! And not feel guilty!
Mullets are not a dirty word
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the MULLET.
The mullet is a thing of absolute beauty. It gives the wearer an immediate sense of personality.
It’s a statement style – and why? Because the mullet has been bullied and vilified as “bogan” cut. Style mavens and masters need only turn the pages of Vogue or marie claire to understand that “bogan chic” is what 2022 is all about – and we are in the age of the mullet.
I love giving clients a stylised mullet, and then hearing their stories of reactions on the street. Mullets are a glorious representation of the Australian character. Long may the mullet reign.
Redheads are ALWAYS sexy
100% red is ALWAYS IN! Redheads are style survivors – even after school yard taunts, you’ll see proud redheads of all hues, literally strutting. It’s because red is special.
Making the CUT in 2022
The three hottest cuts for 2022 have to be:
- The mullet – the more defined the better, use colour as well for multicoloured and textural mullet.
- The 90s-inspired swept pixie cut – think Princess Diana but tweaked to make modern and fresh.
- 90s Supermodel hair – long haircuts need to have loads of volume, bounce and face framing, think 90’s supermodel and you are bang on.
Note: yes, this year sees some of the great trends of the past remodelled. We look to new twists and turns, colours and curves for modern looks, with a nod to what has been cut before us.
ABOUT FRUITION STYLE AMBITION:
Ours is an environment that celebrates growth, cultivates talent and applauds ideas. Our mantlepiece isn’t overflowing with awards for nothing! We support dreams. We have concrete career mapping and clear succession planning. Training is ongoing, and core education for all employees is fully funded. Ours is a team of highly skilled, award-winning, warm, welcoming humans. Our coffee machine is the envy of many, we laugh a lot, and our playlist is, well, brilliant. Our sense of family is everything!