By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
When walking down the runway, all of a model’s accessories stand out—hair, nails, makeup, jewelry all have a stunning impact.
Camisha Rivers Hunter
For Hunter, hair is fashion.
“Every woman knows that if her hair is done, she can conquer the world,” said Hunter, a noted hairstylist who has been in the industry for 14 years. “Cute hair is a perfect accessory for even jeans and a T-shirt.”
Hunter was a talent agency assistant for two years before going out on her own. Her love for hair has landed her work on many fashion shows, with celebrities, and on TV screens. She has done hair and makeup for Birmingham Fashion Week, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta, and TV One’s Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes.
Her inspirations: fashion shows, magazines, and even Pinterest.
“I think Birmingham is the ‘next big deal [in fashion],’” Hunter said. “We are slowly evolving in the fashion world. If we keep our momentum, we will look like bigger cities. We have really fashionable people and innovators, and together we can take the fashion world by storm. My dream has never been to move to a big city to pursue beauty and fashion. My dream has always been to be so good that I bring it to my city.”
Hunter says her decade-plus as a hairstylist is “truly a blessing.”
“I love being creative, and hair allows me to express myself daily,” she said. “I’ve created an authentic lifestyle brand that attracts women from all walks of life. Clients come to me for customized looks, and I always accept the challenge. My authenticity separates me from other hairstylists.”
While hair is one of the first areas noticed in fashion, nails are “the icing on the cake,” according to Woods of Liv Fanci Nails.
“I get inspired every season,” she said. “I have a pulse on what’s happening in runway fashion and in the nail community because I invest in my craft. I’m constantly attending classes and beauty shows, so I’m never left behind when it comes to what’s going on in the industry.”
While many will say nails are an extra expense, many women believe they are essential. Asked the importance of nails, Woods said, “When a woman gets her nails done, it gives her self-esteem a boost, whether it’s a pretty, plain nude polish or an eye-catching pop of color.”
Many clients come in with their own inspirations, she said.
“Honestly, my clients come to the salon with their own ideas, which usually differ from whatever nail-art trend is dominating social media. This challenges me to be an even better nail artist,” Woods said. “Nails correlate with hair, shoes, and any outfit. If your nails aren’t Instagram- or Snapchat-worthy, why bother getting your nails done at all?”
In Birmingham, it’s essential to build a reputation within the nail industry by satisfying the needs of customers.
“We’re open-minded to the wants, interests, and needs of our clients,” Woods said, adding that she sees “satisfied clients as walking billboards. They keep my career evolving every day. That’s what makes the Magic City unique.”
“Important factors alongside your skill set are crucial in building your professional reputation because word of mouth is the number-one marketing tool,” she said.
Joy “JoJo” Krystal
What are hair and nails without makeup? If you ask professional makeup artist Krystal, owner and operator of Birmingham beauty business DangShawtyBeat, makeup completes the entire look.
“You wouldn’t walk out of a nail shop with freshly painted fingers and no top coat, so no one should walk out or even put a look together without having the finishing makeup touches,” she said. “The DangShawtyBeat beauty brand contributes to the Birmingham fashion industry by providing professional makeup and beauty services to designers, photographers, models, and stylists.
Krystal said her outlook on beauty has an impact on fashion “because I’m open to trying any and everything.”
“I don’t believe one product can serve only one purpose. If I think a lip gloss would look good as an eye shadow, then I’m going to try it. If it doesn’t work out, then cool. After all, it’s just makeup.”
Krystal, who has been in the industry for nine years, said she is inspired by music and nature: “There’s something about a sunset and an eclectic beat that gives me colorful feels and makes me want to put those vibes on a human canvas.”
The Magic City’s makeup industry has changed greatly, Krystal said.
“When I entered, there were only a handful of makeup artists. Now, because of the trends, being a makeup artist is the thing. If you look hard enough, though, you can find the gems by their true love for the art.”
Colvin is another professional who knows the importance of makeup.
“I do not do makeovers—I create beautiful lifestyles,” said the 45-year-old who describes herself as an “artiste.”
Colvin, whose been in the business for 10 years, believes makeup artistry is a lifestyle: “Makeup is a personal expression that reflects a personal style. [It’s] not just for special occasions anymore.”
For Hunter, no outfit is complete without the pizazz of the bling or the sophistication of the pearl. Her Pink Icing Boutique, located in Bessemer, has been part of the fashion industry for five years.
“We have something to complement every woman’s style, she said. “As a boutique curator, I can’t miss a beat. If you blink too long, the trend can change. This is why I eat, sleep, and live my brand, Pink Icing Boutique,” which has added its own original touch to Birmingham’s fashion design industry: “the Pink Icing Signature Clutch.”
“[This purse] aims to empower more black women to take the leap of faith in their businesses and careers,” Hunter said.