Bri Bird has been part of the Denver Fashion Week backstage team since 2012. Since then, she currently owns her own salon, Oracle, while still traveling across the country and world working with clients. She believes helping others is important, and for her, that’s transforming someone’s outside appearance through hair to make them feel beautiful. Here, we’ve asked her a series of questions exploring her successful career as a hairstylist along with Denver Fashion Week and her outlook on the fashion, makeup and hair industry.
303 Magazine: What inspired you to pursue hairdressing? Did you have dreams of becoming anything else?
Bri Bird: My mom let me color my hair for the first time at age 12, and from that point on, I was obsessed with how altering your outwards appearance changed how you felt on the inside. That was powerful. I started doing my friends’ hair color, not having any idea what I was doing, and it almost always had a good outcome. I enjoyed the feeling it gave me to help someone feel differently about themselves in a positive way. My grandmother was a hairdresser of over 40 years and had owned multiple salons, watching her work was enchanting. The relationships she built with her clients and their families, with her staff, with her community, was awe-inspiring. I wanted that for my life as well. Sure, I had dreams of other careers, psychology has always fascinated me but I always came back to the craft of hairdressing, and owning my own business.
303: What does hair mean to you?
BB: Hair has symbolized so many different things. The obsession we have with our dead hair that we imagine to be full of life is fascinating. It is the part of the body that has no nerves or muscles but has movements and rhythm that feels alive. When you cut it off there is no pain and it does not bleed. Yet, we perceive it as a sacred entity. Hair represents the beast in us, and once it’s off the body, we think it’s creepy. It’s a memory of who you are. Which is why after a big life event, many of us will immediately go for a completely different look.
303: What are some things you’ve done for DFW?
BB: In addition to working backstage on different teams doing hair and/or makeup for DFW designers, I have had the pleasure of being a part of promotional shoots, segment creation, production/organization, Hair and Makeup Team coordinating, leading teams, assisting amazing artists and participating in Hair Show night.
303: What’s the process of planning out the makeup and hair for a certain line and where do you draw inspiration from for DFW?
BB: I consult with each designer: Ask to see the collection and ask for photos of what looks they were thinking of pairing with them. Then I can go from there and decide if it’s going to work well and if the hairdressers and makeup artists will have fun creating the look. If I don’t think it’s going to work that well, I’ll find alternatives and explain why I think they would be better. Very similar to how a hairdresser consults a client in the salon. Once I’m done with the looks, Mr. Charlie Price must have final approval, which most of the time he does. Sometimes even then, after planning and deciding what will happen – things change the day of. Having flexibility and being adaptable are two very important traits to bring with you during show production.
303: What has been your favorite DFW season or look?
BB: I always love what James Mucker creates. He usually has a segment in the hair show, and is such an inspiration. Anything he does is fire.
303: Are there any hair trends you’re currently loving?
BB: THE SHAG IS BACK AND SHE’S FABULOUS. I’m loving the ’60s/’70s era inspired haircuts I’ve been seeing, all the razor work and boho vibes! @hollygirldoeshair work is a great representation of this.
303: What hairstyle would you consider timeless?
BB: The Hollywood Wave! It can be done up very formally, or done loosely for a more ethereal vibe. It is timeless.
303: What are your go-to hair essentials?
BB: For my kit: brushes, combs, irons, duck bill clips, bobby pins/elastics/hairnets, Eufora Elevate Hairspray, Eufora Retain Heat Protectant, Eufora Illuminate Shine Spray, Eufora Formation Foaming Cream and Eufora Piece Works Fiber Paste. I can create just about any style with those basic tools.
303: You do makeup as well, are there any challenges balancing it with hairdressing?
BB: No, not for me professionally. I own a salon and hair color is my bread and butter. Makeup will occasionally pay the bills if I work a wedding but typically I reserve that skill for when it’s needed on set or backstage. In the past, I preferred doing both on set, but anymore I find it less stressful and just better in general if I stick to one or the other (usually hair more so) and collaborate with another artist.
303: Would you say hair is more of your specialty than makeup?
BB: Absolutely. I am still very passionate about makeup, but hair has challenged me in a different and more fulfilling way — artistically and creatively, so my preference has changed. If I had been asked this four years ago, I would’ve said makeup is more so.
303: Favorite memory from DFW?
BB: November 2016, I was asked to create my own artistic segment for the Hair Show. I decided to focus on the combination of old Hollywood and new age goth culture. I chose models who were across the board alternative, everything from petite, androgynous, tall, male, female, young/”older”, tattooed/not tattooed. I did all the fashion styling myself and discovered how much I enjoy doing that! My friend and colleague Caitlyn Duffy of No Name Edu came out from Atlanta to work backstage and ended up helping me color five human hair wigs last minute, once I realized the synthetic wigs I had originally planned to use were going to take me eons to finish. The whole process was a roller coaster of stress but fun, spending hours and a lot of dollars. I had an amazing support system with my partner Ben, my family, and my friends by my side, my models were just the best. It was an amazing experience. I had never created something I was more proud of before that. As an artist, it’s very easy to over-analyze your work to the point that you hate it, but I am still not able to do it with that show, I still love it. Beautiful memories.
303: What are you looking forward to this season?
BB: This season will be different for me, per Mr. Charlie Price’s recommendation, I am not going to be coordinating the hair and makeup teams. After opening Oracle’s new and larger location in January — it has needed more of my attention, and I have my hands full. However, I look forward to participating backstage as an artist doing hair or makeup with the community that I’ve been a part of for the last six years. DFW is like a family reunion every season, and I always look forward to catching up with my friends. The beauty of the fashion community in Denver is that everyone genuinely just wants everyone to succeed, there is no competition — only uplifting and empowerment going on backstage. And that is why I’m proud to be a part of it.