The finale announcement of the 2019 Hair Expo Awards saw Dee Parker Attwood of Wieselmann Salon in South Yarra, Victoria, crowned the Australian Hairdresser of the Year against immense competition from some of the most talented hairdressers in the industry. Dee’s creatively audacious and bold collection, Shallow, is a skillful and complex representation of the artist’s journey through her career. Nearly three months on from her winning night, we caught up with Dee to see what has changed for her since winning the ultimate accolade, and what is next for the hair superstar.
You took out the ultimate accolade at the Hair Expo Awards in June – Australian Hairdresser of the Year – how has your personal life or career changed since then?
Honestly, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since June. I returned back into the salon after that weekend to being really busy, both with clients and education with Schwarzkopf Professional. I am still on a high and at times when I get introduced or the title is mentioned, I still get butterflies at the thought!!
Your collection, Shallow, is stunning and audaciously creative. What was the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration only evolved as I started working on the hair. For me, I always start on the most time consuming hairstyles first. I was practicing and working on the hair for around 7 months. I worked on it for a whole day, on my day off around once a week. The final collection of the six photos were the hairstyles and haircuts that made it. There were plenty of concepts and attempts that didn’t make it. I really tried not to have any weak links in the final collection, so I made sure I had options to choose from.
What is the meaning behind naming your collection ‘Shallow’?
I called the collection Shallow because I listened a lot to the movie soundtrack [A Star is Born] when I was working on it. I felt it suited the vibe.
You worked with a dream team to execute this collection to perfection. Do you think this contributed so its immense success?
Absolutely!!! Andrew O’Toole and Kylie O’Toole are just geniuses; they brought my creation to life. Plus, I am also lucky enough to have the best creative sounding boards in the business with my mentor Frank Apostolopoulos and my hair hero David Wieselmann. Also, nothing is possible without the emotional and financial support of my other business partners Tara Patience and Di Spy. From a submission prospective, my great professional relationships with Schwarzkopf Professional is vital for exposure.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to enter the Hair Expo Awards in 2020?
Preparation, planning and practice. There is no other way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or get yourself a mentor. They don’t tell you what hair or concept to do. I guess they help with filtering your ideas. What I originally started with, to what I ended up with, were two different things. It’s all part of the process.
Have you begun brainstorming creative ideas for your next collection? Could we have a teaser?
Yes, I have started work to the next one. Some people have a year off once winning, but I am going to do the opposite and go for it again because I need the ideas and concepts anyway, as I am planning on doing the Hair Expo Awards again for 2020!
You were a finalist for Hair Expo Australian Hairdresser of the year in 2018. How do you think you developed as a hairdresser from then to now, leading you to take out the pinnacle title this year?
Very simple answer to this question. I just worked harder!!
Tell us about your recent education endeavours?
I am just off the back of doing my own Look and Learn Schwarzkopf Professional seminar a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne. It sold out and was a success and was a great team building exercise for Wieselmann, as I had many staff and all my business partners involved. We presented 20 models, both creative and commercial hair. But, the section I was most proud of in the event was a ‘Friends of Dee’s section’. It was company neutral and I invited 5 ladies from Melbourne who I believe to be some of the best in the industry to join me on stage to present models. It was all about celebrating each other and promoting each other. It was such a buzz to put this together. They were Nikki Porter from Rubi Hair, Lyndal Salomon from Biba Academy, Rachel Vitullo from Joey Scandizzo Salon, Mariam Enegd from ByFrank and Biba Gertrude Street, and Michelle Anthony from Michelle Anthony Style.
What is next for you?
I am taking one week at a time. My Schwarzkopf education calendar is really busy and I’ve just returned from Brisbane last week where I was a Hair Director for Brisbane Fashion Week, which I really enjoyed. But, always my main focus has to be the salon, because without doing the clients everyday and training the staff, there are no collections or hair shows!!