FUMI EGUCHI / CREATIVE DIRECTOR
When we think of ‘creatives,’ we often think of artists, musicians, or actors. Think a little harder, and we might expand that realm to include writers, directors, designers, and maybe even some marketers. To be fair, however, the idea of being a ‘creative’ really ought to extend to anyone who exercises creativity—particularly when that person displays more creativity than their peer group. Fumihiko Eguchi, the award-winning Creative Director at Lunatic Fringe Salon, is just that kind of person.
A hairdresser may not make the top-of-mind list for creatives, but Fumihiko isn’t your average stylist either. Born and raised in Japan, Fumihiko often felt limited in his opportunities to express himself, so while his friends were deciding where to go to college, he decided to come to the United States. He was 17 at the time.
According to Fumihiko, back in Japan, he felt a lot of pressure to do well in school in order to get into a good university in order to do well in order to get a good job so that he could grow old and raise a family. He felt limited there. Once in the States, he felt almost overwhelmed with all the choices and opportunities available to him—but he also felt free.
With his newfound freedom, he began looking for a way to express his inner creativity and found himself drawn to hairstyling. He saw it as an art form in a natural medium and also saw that, in many instances, it was largely overlooked.
One of the aspects that attracted Fumihiko connected back to the Origami art style of his childhood. Origami, the art of paper folding, plays with creases and angles to control the contrast of light and dark in a piece. Fumihiko saw an opportunity to apply that same principle to hairdressing. He recognized that there is beauty not only in what is shown but also in what is withheld.
As he gained ability and renown, Fumihiko made another realization. No matter how good his work was, he was always at the mercy of the photographer to capture the essence on film. Often, he worked with skilled photographers, but he decided to gain experience with the photography side in order to better understand his own art.
To gain this knowledge, Fumihiko reached out to photography professionals who he admired. He built mentoring relationships and shadowed them to watch them work. As his understanding of lighting and photography improved, his ability as a hairdresser also improved. Ultimately, he decided to learn post-production processing as well to have a full understanding of the process. For that, he would stay up at night to study at ‘Youtube University’ in order to learn the software and techniques.
Then he was offered a position as the creative director of Lunatic Fringe Salon. When he accepted, his team of stylists quit. They were accustomed to working independently, and he wanted a team. They resented him and left, so he cultivated a new team. That year, the new team won the North American Hairstyling Award (NAHA)—an award akin to an Emmy or Grammy but for hairstylists.
After leading the salon to an NAHA win, Fumihiko took a step back and looked at his profession. There are hundreds of cosmetology schools across America, but very few students have aspirations to do more than open a little salon in their home or rent a booth somewhere. The stigma is that there is nothing momentous to do in hairdressing. Fumihiko disagrees.
With a national award under his belt, Fumihiko began traveling to cosmetology schools across the nation, sharing his story and how he’d made a real career by following his passion. Then, after doing so much in America, he decided to return to his native country.
In Japan, fashion takes a different angle, focusing on kawai—the Japanese word for ‘cute’—rather than the ‘sexy’ that seems to be the target in America. The difference gave Fumihiko the chance to reach out to hairdressers in Japan and create new relationships for collaboration. Leveraging his success, he has been working with professionals in Japan and in America to increase awareness and passion within the industry. Fumihiko’s stated goal is “to reignite the passion through education,” and he’s well on his way.
Fumihiko attributes his success to his heart. When he set out, he had already failed at so many things in so many ways that he no longer had a fear of failure. That, in turn, strengthened his resolve to pursue his own dreams and vision—no matter what his critics said—and that clarity and drive has made him a visionary in his field.
Ultimately, Fumihiko is a perfect example of how a creative mind can lead to breakthroughs and progress in any field or focus—particularly when that person looks outside his or her own industry to find new inspiration. His ability to think differently from others in his field has enabled him to lead teams and do amazing, award-winning work time and time again. His passion and genius is an inspiration to us all, and for that, we say to Fumihiko, ありがとうございます!
JEREMY MCDOUGLE / LEAD CUTTING SPECIALIST
Award-winning hairstylist Jeremy McDougle, always swore he would never do hair.
For Jeremy, what began as a mild curiosity and a desire to travel, has transformed into a passionate appreciation and dedication to what he considers a contemporary art form
Though excelling in a wide range of styles and cuts, Jeremy draws inspiration from Vidal Sassoon, contemporary art and clean and structured fashion to make is own mark on women's precision cutting,
"I've never been good at coloring in the lines," he says. " Lucky for me, in this industry I get to create my own lines."
Those lines and his unique style are what led him to be recognized as 2011 Lunatic Fringe Rising Star, 2013 NAHA Newcomer Stylist of the Year, and winner of Redken's 2013 London's Calling Color Rebel Contest.
Born and raised in San Diego, Jeremy moved with his family to Colorado Springs in 2007. There he began working as a janitor for his brother's school and salon before finally deciding to enroll at school himself. after attending Paul Mitchell's annual event in Las Vegas and seeing Lunatic Fringe Salons 2011 performance, he knew he has to work there.
Since starting at the salon, Jeremy has continued t to foster a love of learning, honing his craft and rising quickly, he attributes his swift success to his wonderful mentors both his uncle and brother, as well as Jake Thompson, renowned stylist, photographer and co-owner of Lunatic Fringe Salon in Sugarhouse, and award winning hairstylist and photographer Fumi Eguchi
Jeremy shares his passion and talent by teaching, He began by teaching the Blow Dry class for Lunatic Fringe assistants and now teaches Cut Club for the program. He also splits time between Paul Mitchell Schools in Colorado Springs, CO and Ogden, UT
Seeing the progression of his work continues to push him to be better, he says. as such, in addition to working, learning and teaching, Jeremy fell in love with the art of permanence: photography. He shoots his work regularly, capturing it in time so he can return later and reflect and improve up it.
In 2014 the opportunity arose for Jeremy to become the Cutting Lead for Lunatic Fringes Advanced Academy. "I couldn't be more excited for this opportunity," say Jeremy. He now works along side his mentor and now friend Fumi Eguchi developing curriculum and classes to share
MICKY THOMPSON / CUTTING SPECIALIST
Micky is a Salt Lake City-based hair stylist who has worked at Lunatic Fringe for the past 6 years. This master stylist's passion for the hair industry is focused on precision cutting and continuing education. As one who always pushes herself to be better, being an educator for Lunatic Fringe's "Cut Club" has allowed her the opportunity to enhance her skills, as well as those of her fellow stylists. Micky has been recognized by the North American Hairstyling Awards for her work as part of Lunatic Fringe's Salon Team of the Year for 2013. Micky is constantly energized by the artistry and creativity of the hair industry, and she is excited to be a part of its future.
RAFAEL BERTELLI / CUTTING SPECIALIST
Rafael Bertelli was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. He is a person that is as diverse and colorful as Rio itself with an understanding of international culture.
Rafa’s passion for hairdressing started at a young age and has been an obsession ever since. His hunger and drive for education has allowed him to excel in every area of his journey. Rafa specializes in precision cutting and finishing. With his artistic vision and attention to detail he has had the honor of being in a leadership position at the NAHA award winning salon Lunatic Fringe where he has a very successful salon clientele. Because of his contribution and growth, the salon recognized Rafa in 2012 with their “Rising Star” award and in 2014 with a "Culture Curator." He is constantly working on his own innovative techniques and striving to push the boundaries of hair.
Rafa is an amazing team player which has allowed him to work side by side with industry leaders. Editorial Projects that he has been a part of are editorial for Sam Villa, Lunatic Fringe Artistic Team, Vogue Italia, and L’Uomo Vogue. His mentors and coworkers describe him as being kind, entertaining, and supportive with a willingness to share his knowledge and creativity. Rafa regularly donates his time as a guest artist to put his love for mentoring into practice.
“I have a passion for expanding my knowledge and technical skill by being as open minded and interactive as I can. But, the real reward comes when I can turn around and hand that knowledge to someone else.” - Rafa Bertelli
Ever since Megan Porter graduated from Paul Mitchell the School, she has been blending the line between barbering and cosmetology. She started her career building a loyal clientele in one of Utah's top luxury salons, where she honed her natural abilities behind the chair. She quickly developed a distinctive style with a specific focus in short hair and a keen understanding of the advanced techniques involved. Megan attributes her passion for teaching to her favorite mentors in school and continues to seek out opportunities for growth in environments that foster originality. Currently, she is a learning leader at Paul Mitchell the school, a platform artist, and works in a local barbershop, showcasing a level of precision and finesse one would expect to find in years of practice. With a lot of heart and an ambitious nature, Megan Porter is quickly making a name for herself.