Last month, stylists from Gila Rut Aveda Salons, with three locations in southern California, wrapped their fifth Fashion Week San Diego. The 40-60 person team, made up of the company’s stylists and Bellus Academy beauty school students, executed hair and make up for approximately 120 models over two nights including traditional looks along with hair extensions, temporary color and hair accessories. The main shows featured six to eight designers a night and included TV segments, magazine shoots and local events pertaining to the show—and the Gila Rut team styles it all.
“We have a team of three senior stylists that take the lead, and year-round we attend advanced styling courses to develop our knowledge and build our tool belt, plus stay inspired,” says Karla-Lopez-Martinez, who co-owns the salon with Keri Davis-Duffy. “Between the three of us we share inspiration found in the hair and fashion industry. We meet on a monthly basis three-four months prior to Fashion Week, and we create an inspiration board and discuss it up to the last couple of weeks prior to the shows. We use the latest trends in styling, clothing and design as a guide to our hair designs. Then we choose one that inspires us the most.”
Selected to participate by Fashion Week San Diego Founder Allison Andrews, Gila Rut benefits through exposure. The salon is featured on the Fashion Week San Diego website, gains visibility through social media posts and is highlighted in various media coverage. But, the team says some of the most valuable take-aways come from the experience in general.
“I see it as a creative outlet for our team they otherwise would be limited to experience,” Lopez-Martinez says. “We get to work with other creative individuals that like us, are lovers of all things fashion, creativity and electric energy. It gives our team the opportunity to have a "fashion week experience" without having to leave the city or incur the travel expense. Another side benefit is we get to meet students that are on top of their game and bring fresh passion and who are like-minded individuals. In past years, some of these students have become team members of Gila Rut Salons!”