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Monday, Dec. 27, 2010

Have a Good Hair Day

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Nothing can shoot down a bad hair day like a salon session with Scott Yance, hair stylist and agent of organic follicle sculpting. The 12-year creative director and recently made partner of the local Erik of Norway salon brand has been collaborating behind the scenes of New York Fashion Week for the past seven years. Despite rubbing elbows with industry celebrities, the Kenosha resident keeps his profile under the radar.

What ignited your interest in hair design
?

A Pepsi machine in my neighborhood corner barbershop! Eventually the barber took me under his wing and got me my first work permit. It led me to Los Angeles to groom my skills with Vidal Sassoon, and from there to Chicago before returning home. Now I get to “Warhol” people and create a vibe!

How do you approach the cut?

I visualize the negative space. I look at the silhouette, geometry and texture. It’s a weird three-dimensional medium. Then it’s all about the feel.

How do you establish a rapport with your clients?


The first thing is getting a beat on my boundaries. My grandfather held my hand in a grocery store until I was in my 20s. So growing up as the “only non-Italian” in Kenosha where everybody was loud and touchy made me comfortable in people’s personal space.

Do any of your New York excursions stand out?

This past October I worked a two-day installation at the Move! MoMA PS1, sponsored by V Magazine. It was hardcore street performers working with big-name fashion designers, and we supported the hair. I flew out on Saturday, worked, got up Sunday, worked and flew back to take my kids trick-or-treating. One minute I was hanging out with magician David Blaine and three hours later I was roasting pumpkin seeds. It’s the coolest thing I’ve done!

How do the designers articulate their vision?


Artists like Carolina Herrera don’t tell you the hair should be curly or straight, up or down. It’s crazy things like, ‘Imagine a bride driving a convertible—not along the French Riviera, but the Pacific Coast Highway—and she’s cheating on her husband,” or, “Make it look like a Vermont lily in August.”

Can Milwaukee become a fashion capital?

Milwaukee has some amazing talent. When people leave, they become successful. It’s hard to flourish when the community remains insular and competitive instead of pooling our independent resources and building on each other’s crowd. Until we do, there won’t be much of a fashion scene here.

You seem to thrive on being spontaneous.


Sometimes stupid stuff inspires me—like when my child tipped over a tray of Oreo cookies and milk and there was this cool shape for a split second. Instead of getting angry, I immediately got a piece of paper and pencil so I could draw it.

Photo by Brittainy (Tai) Dale Maloney