“This project is almost the catalyst for us” – Allilon’s Pedro Inchenko on collaboration and upskilling his team on textured hair styling

With a major show planned in Berlin with celebrated BIPOC vocal group A Song For You, Allilon is focused on styling texture with confidence and heart.

 

With the Allilon Education team hitting the stage in Berlin at the Davines World Wide Hair Tour 2024, co-founder Pedro Inchenko wanted to do something creative that would switch up their approach to stage presentations, while also working with local talent to deliver something different. The prep journey has seen him introduce collaborative workshops to ensure his team – both with Allilon and at the Ena salon he co-founded with Johnny Othona – are confident and genuinely ready to work with any hair type. Here, Pedro explains how he’s started the process…

          Pedro Inchenko 

Aminata Kamara with Ena stylist

 

“For Berlin, I wanted to break a little bit of that traditional mould – a show featuring a video, cutting and colouring on stage, then doing a catwalk presentation. I’m looking to stimulate my own creative needs as well. The idea is to find talent in Berlin, and we found a collaborative group of about 50 artists from the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) community. They’re sharing a place to communicate their talents, individually and when they come together as A Song For You.

About 10 of the artists will be our models, and we’ll be doing their hair on stage. In between, they’ll be performing. I really want the emphasis to be on the audience feeling and experiencing something in terms of performance.

We’ve had our first textured hair workshop, where we invited in some specialists to work with the team, starting with TV and film stylist Deborah Lola and session stylist Aminata Kamara, and we’re going to invite others along over the next few months. The idea is if they’re available, they’ll join us on stage. I don’t want it to be this group of white artists doing black hair; I want to give a platform to textured hair specialists who can collaborate with us.”

“As a company, we’ve always been inclusive when it comes to cutting and colouring hair. But in terms of textured hair – the styling, and the understanding of it, in terms of the approach, how different it can be – that’s something we’ve been leaning into more over the last few years. This project is almost the catalyst for us; it needs development and we need to outsource this to specialists, to help us really hone in on those skills.

In the first workshop, we chatted about what it’s like to grow up having Black hair, the psychological aspects of it, how it can become part of your identity. I really want us to do the work, to understand that because there’s a big movement in the community to lean into natural hair and to embrace it. Everyone brought a model, and it was about playing with hair, looking at how we would approach our models.

We’re doing more workshops to further our skills and we’re going to continue to do that across the board. We haven’t necessarily sought outside influences in the past, but it’s something that we’re going to be doing – with textured hair, with different tools, different philosophies, different approaches to hair. We’re really opening ourselves up – we’ve got our foundation, we know who we are… let’s see what else we can bring in for the team to inspire them to continue their journey.

The team are loving it, learning lots of new things around setting, braiding and twisting. It was great to talk about the simple things, like how to comb textured hair. Our normal approach would just be to brush it out and cut it. But Deborah was like, “no, you need to add moisture, add water, brush it out. And then the hair is ready to be cut and prepped”. The way that you put your brush in, the way that you prep the hair to be dried, or to be braided, or to be set. Unless you’re shown, there is a missing part of our education. This is about giving the team the confidence to be able to approach any hair type. They were buzzing afterwards.”

Related