Local stylists from Guelph and all over Ontario gathered at the Sleeman Centre Sunday for the very first BLO Championships.
More than 45 entrants competed in seven categories including vintage barbering, innovative barbering, a junior hairstyling look, senior hairstyling look, eyebrow shaping, runway gala makeup and a total look.
After five years of hosting BLO, an annual charity fashion runway event, Acqua Hair Salon wanted to push the envelope by producing a bigger event that would help showcase their local talent and invite other stylists from the region to visit and share their expertise as well.
“It’s incredible to see how much support we have from the community, and we want to keep working to grow our industry in Guelph,” said Brianna Cook, general manager at Acqua and one of the key event organizers. “There is always more to learn from each other in the hairdressing industry.”
The BLO Championships consisted of a VIP Stage with educational hairstyling demonstrations by local stylists as well as a creative team from Collega, a competition floor where attendees could view the live competition for each of the categories, and booths from local vendors such as Boujee Beauty Boutique, 39
Carden Street, and Sweet Temptations.
Each stylist demonstrated their skill on a model or mannequin within the given time and were judged by a group of elite stylists. The top competitor in each category was awarded a cash prize of $1,500.
“It’s scary to put yourself out there and compete, but you can’t succeed if you never try,” said Daniel Naumovski, stylist and co-owner of Taz Hair Co. in Toronto, and one of the judges at the BLO Championships.
As many as nine entrants participated in each category, and some entrants competed in more than one category throughout the day.
“I wanted to challenge myself and see what’s out there; see what other artists are doing,” said Jenny Chen, a hairstylist at Natural Solutions in Guelph and a competitor in the senior look category.
“Competing was motivating and ambitious – it made me think outside of the box.”
Though the beauty industry in Guelph is still relatively small, Naumovski says he is impressed by the amount of people who came out to the BLO Championships considering it is in its first year. He and Cook are both hopeful that the competition will continue to grow and help showcase up-and-coming talent.