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Anna G. Larson, Published January 30 2014

Trendy tresses: Josef’s students, alumni show creativity in annual runway show

FARGO – For one night, Carielle Henry’s mom will look like an Amazonian goddess from another planet.

The mom from Florida will sport a unitard and hair made out of flowers for her daughter’s entry in Josef’s Annual Fashion Awards runway show, or JAFA, tonight at The Hub.

The ninth annual event showcases hair, makeup and costumes prepared by more than 150 students and alumni from Josef’s School of Hair Design in Fargo and Grand Forks, and Josef’s West Academy in West Fargo.

Friends, family members and people who answered a model call will show off the students’ creativity on the catwalk.

Henry, 23, visualized the “funky, futuristic, otherworldly, yet natural” look for her mom when she created a mood board – a collage of inspiring images – for a class at Josef’s here.

“People are in for a spectacle, a huge bonanza of color and personality,” she says.

Four students will earn top honors and receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City, where they’ll learn salon skills from industry experts.

“Everyone wants that prize. Some students are very secretive about their look for the show because they don’t want anyone to copy their ideas,” Henry says. “The show gives us an opportunity to be avant-garde, which is really cool in this area.”

Josef’s student Erin “EB” Palmer is fashioning armor out of pop tops for one of her JAFA entries. The 26-year-old is linking the silver pop tops with jewelry rings to create a breastplate, belt and cuffs for her model, who will have a dyed and partially shaved hairdo.

“Our instructors have told us this is one of those things where you’re going to get a feeling that you’ll be looking for the rest of your career,” Palmer says. “You’re going to want to have that feeling all the time, that high, that adrenaline rush of ‘wow.’ ”

Competition is part of the learning process at the locally owned schools, says Josef’s instructor Elaine Olivieri, wife of Mario Olivieri, who owns the three hair school campuses and Olivieri’s Salons.

“Not even to win but to expose yourself and get the confidence, stress and anxiety that comes with putting yourself out there makes you much better as a stylist,” she says. “Competition keeps you on the up and up.”

JAFA started in 2005 at the Avalon Events Center in Fargo. Invitations were handwritten, and 60 models showed off student work.

More than 250 models are walking the show this year, and it’s expected to attract 2,000 spectators.

Part of the appeal, Olivieri says, is the diversity of the models.

“It’s not all tall, thin, young models. There are moms who will model for their daughters (like Henry’s), and you get a nice variety. It’s more entertaining,” she says.

Students can enter up to two categories that include women’s cut and color, makeup and avant-garde categories.

“All the things you see trending on Pinterest – it’s that sort of stuff. It’s more inspirational – nothing that people will come in and say can I get that look?” Olivieri says.

Judges for the show include local names, such as WDAY’s Kerstin Kealy and Y94’s JT, and industry professionals who are traveling to Fargo.

Executives from TIGI (a U.K.-based hairdressing company and school) will speak at JAFA.

“In our industry they’re as high as you get on the totem pole,” Olivieri says.

The TIGI team includes its U.S. creative director, Thomas Osborn, who’s so prestigious that it costs $700 an hour for a private lesson, Olivieri says.

Josef’s students Henry and Palmer are in for a long day – model prep starts before 6 a.m. – and both are excited to show off their endeavors.

“There are going to be a lot of positive vibes,” Henry says. “Like Mr. Mario and Mr. Josef (the founder of the hair schools) say, if you’re entering in the show at all, you’ve already won.”

If you go

What: Josef’s Annual Fashion Awards

When: 7 tonight

Where: The Venue at The Hub, located at 2525 9th Ave. S., Fargo

Tickets: $10 and can be purchased at any Josef’s School of Hair Design location or at the door

Info: Visit JSOHD.com or Facebook.com/JSOHD

Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525