Blanche Macdonald Centre News from Blanche Macdonald Centre SPARKLE AND STYLE AT WANDERING STARS, THE 2014 BLANCHE MACDONALD FASHION DESIGN GRAD SHOW #wanderingstars Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate Show 2014

A runway framed by candlelight. Stained glass and gothic arches. Shimmering, gold-kissed hair and makeup. A gathering of Vancouver’s fashion and media elite. And, of course, the debut collections from more than 30 Fashion Designers with bold futures ahead of them. A myriad of talent and creativity combined to ensure that Wandering Stars, the 2014 Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate Show, was the most memorable and best Blanche Macdonald Fashion Show yet.

The venue: Vancouver’s spectacular St Andrew’s-Wesley Church.

The concept: a yearlong collaboration between Blanche Macdonald’s industry-leading instructors across the School’s Fashion, Makeup and Hair departments.

The clothes: the work of a remarkable class of Fashion Design students.

#wanderingstars Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate Show 2014

“This was an amazing experience for everyone,” smiled Executive Program Director Peggy Morrison, taking a well-deserved rest in a still-buzzing dressing room minutes after the Show’s conclusion. “We had exceptional collections. I’ll look back on this year’s Fashion Design grads with great love. They were exceptional groups and it was a wonderful experience for me to teach them. They were diligent, dedicated, focused and talented. And nice! A great bunch to be with! So many of the collections were very innovative. We loved the use of plastic and neoprene, which was everywhere. There was beautiful colour and lots of hand-rendered work.

“The hair and makeup looked beautiful and so did the venue. I loved doing the show here. I hope we’re going to be back.”

#wanderingstars Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate Show 2014

Great designers deserve a great show. Thanks to the hard work of Peggy, Fashion Department Career Director Mel Watts, Creative Director Kelly Schmidt, Fashion Director Tyler Udall and countless others, that’s what they received.

“With any show as diverse as this, there’s never an official ‘concept,’” explained Tyler. “We were working with more than 30 designers and the whole point was to elevate them and their work to the highest levels possible. Fortunately, this year's show included a large number of students exploring quite grandiose designs. The space and the aesthetics we chose complimented that. Our President, Lily Lim and her husband Perry Jung were married at St Andrew’s-Wesley, so it holds extra special meaning for them and the Blanche Macdonald family. It’s an exceptionally beautiful and very grand venue. Transforming it into a space used for a fashion show presented us with some exciting challenges. I worked very closely with Kelly and Mel on so many details your eyes might cross; casting models, developing hair and makeup treatments with the other departments’ Directors, working on audio direction with our amazing DJ. The list went on and on.”

#wanderingstars Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate Show 2014

Making the venue fashion-functional was only one of Tyler’s many vital roles. Equally important was ensuring every student was able to harness their skills and creativity to their maximum ability.

“My Fashion Director responsibilities start right at the beginning of each student's year,” he continued. “We have many one-on-one meetings, looking at and discussing inspiration, sketches, fabrics, construction. I’ll help them translate their vision in a concise fashion voice that’s both runway ready and visually appealing to a discerning media. It’s 100% about the students. This night is the launch pad to their future careers and seeing the pride and success on their faces is utterly priceless. This year we had a particularly strong group of young women who were such delights to work with. All the award-winners deserved their accolades. They were mature and talented beyond their years.  Their overall work ethic, creativity, adaptability and professional aplomb were more than noteworthy. Hire them! People as well-rounded as these women do not come into the industry often!”

This year’s Award for Overall Achievement was shared between Daria Volokhova and Liis Sober. For Daria, hearing her name announced at St Andrew’s-Wesley was a fitting end to a magical year.

“I had a phrase in my mind since I started,” recalled Daria, taking a break backstage from an avalanche of well-deserved congratulations. “Robyne Nessel-Smoot enrolled me. When we met I showed her my work and she told me I was going to be a star. I never told anyone this, but I held onto her words and they helped move me forward. Tonight I’m the Wandering Star!”

Our Admissions Directors’ prophecies are often on the button. Robyne’s prediction came true as Daria’s collection charmed the house with its elegant balance of Russian lavishness and youthful romance. A crimson silk satin blouse smocked and gathered delicately at the bust, as petals, and paired with a lushly woven velvet skirt was as easily conceived as opulence for the office or enchanting evening finery.    

“The inspiration for my collection was peonies. I love these flowers! They’re part of my memory of childhood in Russia, from my Grandma’s back yard.

“My year at Fashion School was great. I met so many amazing people who were so supportive. It was the perfect place and the perfect time for me to show my skills and to grow. I grew professionally at Blanche Macdonald. I learned a lot about the fashion industry and how to work with creative people as a team. I always worked hard to have the best results I could.

“The night was so exciting! Everything went well and I’m so happy. This was my first big show and the location was amazing.”

Top Fashion Design School Graduate Daria Volokhova

Co-winner Liis Sober had years of fashion industry experience under her belt before arriving at Blanche Macdonald. Even so, seeing her debut collection on this spectacular runway was an unforgettable experience.

“I have a degree in Merchandising from the University of Kentucky, where I played tennis collegiately. I’ve been working at lululemon for two years as a Merchandise Information Associate, which is basically an assistant buyer. But I wanted to be creative. I did my research and knew designers who’d been to Blanche Macdonald and had been successful.”

Liis combined her real-world experience and passion for tennis to deliver an ace debut collection, ready for the racks of Vancouver’s thriving boutique scene. Set in creamy silks and crisp linens, Liis’ looks riffed on vintage tennis-wear of the 1920s and 30s, seeing the playful proportions of a pleated high-waist linen short pant with entredeux hem detailing, and silk lattice cutwork on a varsity jacket and tunic that echoed racket strings. The collection on a whole felt refreshing, and the impeccable tailoring only added to its allure. 

“Tennis was my first love. Vintage tennis looks were so beautiful with their long skirts, pleats and sweaters. That was my inspiration. I took tennis equipment, like the strings on the racket, and interpreted that with the clothes. I wanted to play with the textures, which I knew would show up because it’s all white, in true Wimbledon style.

“It was an intense course but I knew that going in. I knew what I got out of the program would depend on what I put in. The teachers are amazing at Blanche Macdonald. If you work hard they’ll help you hard. The show was breathtaking. Watching my and everyone else’s clothes was magical. Seeing the sketches come alive on a model was so rewarding.”

Top Fashion Design School Graduate Liis Sober

The perfectly prepared venue and the pristine collections were only two dimensions of what made Wandering Stars so spectacular. Completing the event’s commitment to the very highest professional standards was the beauty team, headed by Blanche Macdonald Makeup Director Jon Hennessey.

“For this show the challenge is to find a central theme or look that works effectively across the board with all the designers,” explained Jon, relaxing with his team of Blanche Macdonald Makeup grads after the show. “Tyler and I bounced ideas back and forth. In this case, the venue was a huge part of where the look came from, as the church has such a majestic quality. You’re surrounded by incredible stained glass and the runway is lined with candles. How can you honour that environment?

“I wanted something that was texture heavy in terms in reflection. When the models blinked I wanted to show the reflection in their eyelids. We created a craft glitter and an eye with a bird of prey quality to it, with a crisp black frame for the reflective glitter. But the main focus for me was the skin. I wanted to create the most luminous, reflective, ethereal quality to the skin. Highlights were painted in as strokes of light. There was nothing formulaic about it. Every girl was different. You might not have caught it. If it’s obvious it’s too much. The subtlety should creep up on you.

“Tim Hung designed the look for the Wandering Stars photo shoot. He and Tyler discussed using Gold Foil on the hair, giving it a gold flake texture. We kept that clean centre part and used a gold leaf to define the part and diffused the leaf by breaking it up with a spatula and fork. I was working very closely with Renata Trebacz who was keying the hair. She adhered the gold leaves and we diffused it in our room like we were blending a makeup.”

#wanderingstars Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate Show 2014

For a Makeup Artist of Jon’s calibre, used to the backstage facilities of New York and Europe’s finest fashion venues, working in an 80-year old church still brought some novel challenges. 

“It’s a unique environment!” he laughed. “Hair is another floor away and so was the dressing room. I had no concerns about capabilities with my team of grads. They were confident and competent. We had two hours to process 19 models. It was a pushed pace, and it was a challenge, but we got it done!”

#wanderingstars Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Graduate Show 2014

The success of Wandering Stars was a tribute to the hard work of the students and staff at Blanche Macdonald, with special mention due to the inspirational leadership of President Lily Lim, the endless efforts of Executive Program Director/Show Coordinator Peggy Morrison, Executive Program Director Donna Baldock, Fashion Director Tyler Udall, Career Director, Fashion Department Mel Watts, the expertise and support in the Sewing and Pattern Labs of Instructors Brenda Swinglehurst and Jenny Hedberg, and creative catalyst Lisa Gellert. Special thanks must also go to Instructors Carlie Wong, Mariana Prins, Maneli Nourbakhsh, Rose Aiello, Emmanuel St. Juste and Wanda Sustersich, Lab Assistants Kari Applequist, Hana Chiang and Jill Kacic, Creative Director Kelly Schmidt, Social Media and Marketing Manager Natasha Eng, Social Media and Marketing Coordinator Laila Fox, Graphic Design Assistant Esther Chaye, Instructor and Backstage Coordinator Lyndi Barrett and the team at Heth PR.

Infinite gratitude too, must be given to the backstage team, led by Peggy Morrison, along with Leila Bani and a team of volunteers from the Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising programs. While instructors Jon Hennessey, Renata Trebacz and Barb Baker and their volunteer graduates and students from the Blanche Macdonald Makeup, Hair and Esthetics Schools ensured the models looked as spectacular as the collections. Thanks also to our fabulous emcee Jaylene McRae and DJ Hana Pesut (Sincerely Hana) for providing an amazing soundtrack to the night.

The entire team at Blanche Macdonald would also like to extend its sincerest gratitude to our corporate sponsors, Make Up For Ever, Oribe, Dermalogica, Aldo & Aldo Accessories, Town Shoes, Embryolisse, and Linacare, along with huge thanks to our colleagues at CurliQue Beauty for putting our guests’ goody-bags together.

Full List of Award Winners

Overall Achievement: Liis Sober and Daria Volokhova (tied)

Overall Achievement (Honourable Mention): Elya Postma

Achievement in Pattern Making: Shin-Yi Chi and Joanna Pang (tied)

Achievement in Garment Construction: Joanna Pang

Achievement in Illustration: Marissa Campbell

Award for Portfolio Presentation: Kathryn Brown

Award for Design Innovation: Tia Zhen


Fri, 19 Dec 2014 00:00:00 PST
NEW! 3 MONTH INTERNATIONAL MAKEUP STUDIO PROGRAM Canada's Top Makeup School International Makeup Studio Program

Blanche Macdonald is thrilled to announce an exciting new addition to our International Makeup Studio program! We have condensed our popular six-month course into an amazing three-month program. In a full-time Monday to Friday schedule, this new course delves into every aspect of the Fashion, Bridal, and Special Events Makeup industries.

International students will also have the option to add on a three-month Co-op Canadian working Visa after completing the International Makeup Studio Program. Blanche Macdonald's exceptional International Team and fantastic Makeup Career Directors are highly acclaimed and respected professionals in the industry. They work around the clock to place our current students and graduates with extraordinary work opportunities while studying in Canada.

Canada's Top Makeup School Graduate Andrea Tiller

If you are a creative individual seeking a unique Canadian educational experience, this program is for you. Blanche Macdonald's world famous Makeup college is located in one of the most spectacular cities - Vancouver, British Columbia. We offer a dynamic and distinct approach to education in applied makeup arts. Our International Makeup Studio Program is taught by some of the leading Makeup Artists and successful industry professionals. We embrace diversity and encourage relationship building on a global scale.

Connect your passion for travel and education with imagination and possibility. We welcome you to join our Blanche Macdonald international family!

Canada's Top Makeup School International Makeup Studio Program

About Blanche Macdonald Centre

Established since 1960, Blanche Macdonald Centre is a world class educational institution in Vancouver, BC, focusing on the creative and applied arts. We are a fully government accredited college and a Canadian Designated Learning Institute (DLI # O19257719332) enrolling over 1300 students per year. We currently have three Vancouver campuses, CurliQue Beauty (our pro beauty store) and Q&A Hair Salon (a student-run Pro Hair salon).

Five-time Emmy Award-winning Makeup Artist Eve Pearl recently called Blanche Macdonald "the Harvard of Makeup". We teach our students to the very highest industry standards. Our curriculum is authored by two-time Emmy Award-winning Blanche Macdonald Makeup Director, Mr. Todd McIntosh. Throughout the year, some of the top talent in the Beauty industry takes time out of their busy schedules to visit our campuses, speak and demonstrate their talent and knowledge to our Makeup students. International VIP Guest instructors and artists include Oscar Award-winners Ve Neill (Makeup Designer/Makeup Department Head for The Hunger Games, The Amazing Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbean) and Howard Berger (Makeup Department Head for The Chronicles of Narnia), Celebrity Makeup Artists for Madonna, Lady Gaga, Florence + The Machine - Sharon Gault and James Vincent, and top international Fashion Makeup Artists like Janeen Witherspoon and Ayami Nishimura (Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, AnOther Mag, Dazed and Confused, ID Mag etc.)

Top Makeup School International Makeup Program

Please contact our International Marketing Team for more information regarding our admission process or start dates:

Atelier Campus

Jaye Wong Klippenstein, International Marketing Director

Lina Lee, Associate Director International Department
Lina is also fluent in Korean

By phone: 604.685.5560

City Square Campus

Josephine Lee, Associate Director
Josephine is also fluent in Mandarin and Spanish. 

Canada's Top Makeup School International Makeup Studio Program

Blanche Macdonald's International Makeup Studio ProgramsBlanche Macdonald's NEW 3-Month International Makeup Studio Diploma ProgramBlanche Macdonald's 6-Month International Makeup Studio Diploma ProgramBlanche Macdonald's International Makeup Studio Program TuitionAPPLY to Blanche Macdonald's International Makeup Studio Diploma Program!

IMUP Testimonials

Tue, 09 Dec 2014 00:00:00 PST

In the cozy, clean and crisp white space of Glam Nail Studio, the morning sun glints on the golden array of Nail Art trophies jostling for space along countertops and shelves, intersticed with the framed sets of the winning artwork. The girls have only just settled from the bustle of their opening preparations, and the stations are already babbling with the first customers of the day; that is, with exception to our chair and the one opposite where sits the owner of this Award-Winning space, Blanche Macdonald Nail Parlour graduate-turned-instructor Keiko Matsui.

“At first I wasn’t aware of competitions,” chirps Keiko, swiveling to look at the impressive collection of glass and gold with a humble shrug. “Some of our staff that came in from Tokyo to work with us were wanting to go to Las Vegas; the competitions there are world renowned. I decided to give it a shot and I won third place the first time – I was very, very happy. Now, since we’ve begun winning these awards, there are nail technicians that want to come to work in this salon so that they too can win awards at the competitions. They know we know what we need to do!”

They certainly do. Just over six years into business, the Richmond-based Glam Nail team boasts an astounding 21 International Awards for their highly acclaimed Japanese nail art, including Keiko’s 3D Nail Art First Place win at IBS Las Vegas. And people have been noticing.  

Top Nail School Instructor/Graduate Keiko Matsui

“Customers are actually coming in from different areas, crossing the border; sometimes they’re even flying in, coming by as they pass through the Vancouver International Airport!

“We try to get the most experienced nail technicians; they are so dedicated to the salon and we have won many competition awards. Even now, Glam Nail is still one-of-a-kind in the Lower Mainland.”

Since first tossing open the doors in the summer of 2008, Glam Nail’s client base – which began only with a small group of loyal customers from Keiko’s freelancing days – has grown exponentially, keeping the salon in constant flux and on their toes. This, in part due to the fact that Keiko and her girls are creating a new niche by educating Vancouverites about Japanese nail art technique and design.

“When I was still in Japan, about 18 years ago nobody was talking about nails. Japanese nail art really happened in the past 15 years or so; the nail technicians began to win awards in the international competitions, and the prominent ones were all of a sudden always in the magazines. Historically in Japan, the craftsman and craftsmanship is very appreciated. It was because of this that they were able to gradually establish so many nail art styles.”

Top Nail School Instructor/Graduate Keiko Matsui

Keiko brought this diversity of style to Canada when a long list of national regulations and restrictions on immigrants forced her and her Canadian husband to relocate from Kyoto to Canada, leaving her position as an English instructor behind. Excited about the prospect of a fresh start, Keiko kept her eyes peeled and ears open for the next career to call her own. The moment of clarity was released – pun intended – during a back rub.

“I was helping out a friend with her massage practicum and as I was speaking with her she told me about another of her friends that was taking a nail artistry course. I thought, ‘Oh, I might like that!’ I began looking for a nail school right away. One of my friends had gone to Blanche Macdonald for the Esthetics course and the schedule really matched mine. It was all very opportune – all from only that one conversation!

“The classes at Blanche Macdonald were very sophisticated. The teachers were not just teachers; they were nail technicians with experience. I loved how they emphasized on cleaning, on manners, ethics – it’s all very important. It was great learning about all of the extra treatments as well, like henna and aromatherapy. The materials that we used at the school were very good; they were all top notch products!”

Top Nail School Instructor/Graduate Keiko Matsui

Keiko pulls open a few drawers and points to her collection of polish and gels – most of these products are now stocking her shelves at Glam Nail. The high-standard hygenics that she learned over a decade ago are another Blanche Macdonald legacy that she has carried through to her salon – and they’re not the only things.   

“I even still follow the finger painting order,” she laughs. “Those kinds of fundamental lessons I cannot ever forget.”

After graduation, Keiko began work as a nail artist with Holt Renfrew’s prestige spa, but a very special circumstance pushed her into a more independent pursuit.

“I found out soon after that I was pregnant. I wanted to be more flexible in my hours, and I was adamant that I wanted to pursue nail art specifically, so I began doing friends’ nails. They loved it! That’s when I established K’s Mobile Nail Bar. My client list began growing bigger, and bigger – once you have 60 customers you cannot increase more than that. You’re fully booked all of the time. And so, I opened Glam Nail!”

Top Nail School Instructor/Graduate Keiko Matsui

Even now with her larger space and ever-growing team, Keiko can barely keep the appointment books from overflowing. Glam Nail’s unparalleled passion for creativity, quality, and the attention they devote to their clients keeps their salon buzzing.

“A lot of our customers have been here for a long time, but some will move back to Asia, and some may have children and stop doing their nails for some time. Even when they don’t come for awhile, I still see them as very long term customers when they do. I always try to remember each customer and the stories we shared.

“I keep this salon very small. The reason is that I can still oversee and make sure that the quality of service is at the level I want. We guarantee our work for up to one week even if it’s their fault. We’ll fix it without any questions asked. I don’t want to argue about who’s fault it is; they paid, and so they should enjoy.”

Top Nail School Instructor/Graduate Keiko Matsui

The Glam Nail aesthetic ranges from toothsome pastel florals to exorbitant, no holds barred bling. Though many travel miles for one of their signature 3D looks, some come for a more classic look made brilliant through the unparalleled quality and service on offer at the studio. Ensuring that her team are never short of ideas for her diverse client base means that Keiko is constantly on the lookout, pulling inspiration from some unlikely sources.

“When I see her clothes,” says Keiko, gesturing towards a customer’s heathered shawl cardigan, “I think of how there’s a really great combination of black and white there, and wonder how to utilize it. Materials are everywhere and make for great inspiration. I try to pay attention. Even with my kids’ stuff – I’ve gone to the toy store just to look and think about 3D things to make. It’s crazy!

“My crafty, artistic side has been really fulfilled with this job.”

Top Nail School Instructor/Graduate Keiko Matsui

Glam Nail’s spectacular, inventive designs have even won over the adoration of superstar ‘Gothic Lolita’ blogger, journalist, and TV host La Carmina, who pops by Glam Nail to treat herself when she’s in town. Yet the passion that Keiko enthuses for her career has less to do with star visitors, and more to do with the everyday enjoyments that come with owning your own business.

“It’s so difficult to refine it to just one thing! One of the greatest parts about this job is that you see the results, the feedback right away, which is difficult to find in some other careers. Then, as I have two kids I am too busy to go downtown all the time, but my staff and customers will bring me back lots of ideas and information. I love my conversations with my team and my customers.

“I’m supported by so many people. I feel incredibly grateful. I have to play all sorts of roles in my daily life but it’s a good thing, as a mother, to have your own business; you can be more flexible.”

Top Nail School Instructor/Graduate Keiko Matsui

Keiko has now added an extra role to her list that she is endlessly thrilled about, coming back to Blanche Macdonald as an instructor to the next generation of potential nail technicians, award-winning artists and studio owners.

“The classrooms at Blanche Macdonald are full of curiosity – I love it! At the time that I was in the program, there wasn’t much information about Japanese nail art, but a lot of these students today are very interested in it. I want to answer all of their questions! I really want to inspire these young artists, but I am inspired by them also; by their energy and their passion.”

Having won the hearts of the Lower Mainland over to the wondrous world of Japanese nail art, she hopes that the next generation will keep the tradition going. For now, her advice to the her students is to keep eyes open and on the horizon for their own calling in the bright and booming industry of Nail Art. 

“Be curious! I’m full of curiosity! And be patient. Keep going. Your time will come, but to be patient is the most important thing to know.”

Top Nail School Instructor/Graduate Keiko Matsui

Top Nail School Instructor/Graduate Keiko Matsui

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 PST
Pro Hair Grad Jennie Keis: From Fringe to Foundation Top Pro Hair School Graduate Jennie Keis

Jennie Keis knows how important a haircut can be. As a Stylist at the UBC branch of On The Fringe Hair Design the Blanche Macdonald Pro Hair and Makeup Graduate is helping students from around the world discover their sense of self-expression every day.

She’s also taken her artistry out of the salon; launching her own Charity Foundation, Giving It Back, providing patients at Vancouver addiction centres with free makeovers as they prepare to restart their lives.

Jennie understands how hair and makeup changes lives. She’s a prime example.

“I decided that I needed to do something with my life,” she explains. “I was running a clothing, body piercing and tattoo store with a friend in Yellowknife. I was there for a year and it was way too cold for me. I returned to Quesnel, where I’d grown up, and realized that I needed to make a change. That’s when I came to Vancouver and Blanche Macdonald.”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Jennie Keis

Jennie had loved hanging out in the local salon from an early age (“I was happy to sweep up the hair. I liked the community and the conversations.”). But her inner hairstylist would have to wait, as she’d been understandably wowed by the artistry and career opportunities of the Global Makeup Program.

“The Makeup program was so much fun. I met so many amazing people, classmates and instructors, and I’m still in contact with almost all of them. Even now, if I have questions I’ll message Ashley Forshaw, Leanne Rae Podavin or Jon Hennessey.

“We did a Hair module on the Makeup program with Tyana Nichole, focusing on updo’s and wedding do’s. So if you were put on the spot as a Makeup Artist you could whip up a hairstyle. Ty was inspirational. I aced the hair module. Which was the only thing I aced!”

Jennie stepped straight from Blanche Macdonald into life as a professional Makeup Artist, both in the independent movie world and at Shoppers Drug Mart. But the lure of Hair soon proved too strong to resist. When it came to picking a School, there was never any doubt.

“I knew what Blanche Macdonald expected of us when I started the Hair Program. I knew how high the standards were. I loved how the instructors are working in salons. Lisa Callender and Jeff Ranger are so cool! The education was great. And I liked talking to people all day!”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Jennie Keis

Talking comes naturally to Jennie. She’s an unabashed people person, regularly punctuating her conversation with booming laughter. Connecting with clients has never been a problem: even before she had the technical abilities to match her innate interpersonal skills.

“When we first started seeing clients in the School Salon it was absolutely nerve wracking, but the instructors weren’t going to give you something you couldn’t do. They wanted us to be confident. The more confident you are, the better haircuts you give. The instructors would build us up. I loved it!”

Looking for some real-life experience (and income), Jennie’s enthusiasm led her to a position assisting owner Shannon Simmonds at Vancouver salon On The Fringe Hair Design while she was still at Hair School.

“I ended up working at On The Fringe on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, assisting and going to Hair School Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I was working my butt off! In the salon I’d watch Shannon and the other stylists work. I did my Blanche Macdonald work placement here too! I knew this was the place for me.”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Jennie Keis

On The Fringe Hair Design realised that they had a special one, and put Jennie to work seeing clients the day after she graduated. After a couple of weeks on Main Street, Jennie relocated to the branch at the University of British Columbia, one of Vancouver’s liveliest salons. It’s been her creative home ever since.

“It’s really busy at UBC. We get walk-ins all day long. Our clientele are different from the clientele at the Main Street salon, but how we want to make them feel and what we want to achieve when they’re in our chair is exactly the same. We want to make them feel that they’re the only people we’re thinking about when they’re with us. We have clients that have moved to Vancouver from different countries and university life can be lonely for them. We want them to know that we care. Once every six weeks they have someone they can vent to.”

For Jennie’s global clientele, whether it’s their first or tenth time in her chair, a trip to On The Fringe Hair Design is a chance to sit, laugh and chat with a friend. For Jennie, every client is a chance for a creative adventure.

“I love big changes. When girls come to university and are away from home for the first time of course they get excited about changing their colours or cutting it short. What are their parents going to do? Men’s cuts are always fun. Girls have all these different accessories. But for men, their haircut is their accessory.”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Jennie Keis

For anyone walking into On The Fringe Hair Design looking for a bold colour change, the orchid tones of Jennie’s own hair is confirmation that they’re in gifted hands.

“When people walk into the salon and think, ‘Who here would be the best fit for me?’ they can see my hair and ask if I can do the same for them. Colour is like chemistry. It’s a legitimate science.”

Jennie’s commitment to filling people with confidence isn’t confined to her clients. Taking inspiration from her volunteer work with On The Fringe Hair Design, she’s started Giving It Back, a foundation dedicated to giving addiction sufferers finishing their treatment new looks to accompany their new lives.

“On The Fringe is really involved in our community. We do Cuts for Cancer at UBC, and we give homeless people haircuts at Oppenheimer Park twice a year.

“I realised that two times a year wasn’t enough for me. I’ve had friends and family members struggle with addiction so I wanted to give back. I starting talking to Turning Point, which is a treatment centre for drug and alcohol addiction. They were floored that I wanted to help. I’ve done all this hard work to get to this point and I love doing it. I want to share these skills with people. I’m pretty excited!”

Top Pro Hair School Graduate Jennie Keis

For Jennie, the art of hair is the art of understanding and appreciating people. Whether it’s a regular client or a stranger, the world’s most technically perfect haircut doesn’t mean a thing unless it’s on the right head.

“You have read people,” she smiles. “How can I make you feel better about yourself? Will this haircut suit you? I’m not going to give someone shy bright pink hair if they’re shy and don’t want to stand out. You need to know something about the person to answer those questions. I’m a Chatty Cathy so it suits me perfectly. I can’t imagine my life without this!”

Jennie Keis Top 5 Fave Products

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 00:00:00 PST
Gloria Kim Strikes Gold at the 2014 Sydney IMATS 'Battle of the Brushes' Competition! Blanche Macdonald Makeup Grad Gloria Kim, First Place at IMATS Sydney 2014

Gloria Sion Kim remembers discovering that she was going to embark on a Makeup adventure that would change her life. So does her family.

“I always check my email before I go to bed,” recalls Gloria. “It was 2am, and my grandmother was asleep next to me. I saw a message from Heather Wisner from IMATS saying ‘Congratulations: You’ve been selected to be a finalist at the Sydney IMATS’. I screamed, and of course my parents came rushing in. ‘What happened!’”

The drama had just begun. One month later Gloria was on stage in Sydney, accepting the First Place Trophy having won the IMATS Beauty/Fantasy competition for her dazzling interpretation of a Ki-Wa, a traditional Korean House, giving a sense of time and place to the theme of Art Through the Ages.

Blanche Macdonald Makeup Grad Gloria Kim, First Place at IMATS Sydney 2014

“It’s art, but it’s also a Beauty/Fantasy competition so it has to be beautiful. I had two hours to complete the makeup and I finished with 15 minutes left, so I did some more detailing by hand, which showed my skill and definitely helped. Everyone was telling me that I was going to win, but I still wasn’t expecting it. When Michael Key announced that I had won I started crying and had to sit down! I couldn’t believe it. There were a lot of cameras flashing and I was so happy.”

Looking back, there seems to be a sense of inevitability about Gloria’s triumph. Having arrived in Canada when she was 15, the Korean-born artist was already an accomplished painter when she began thinking about taking her art to a different kind of canvas.

“A friend of mine had been to Blanche Macdonald and told me that they could help me find a good job as an artist. I thought it looked really interesting.

“At Makeup School my classmates supported each other like we were family. All the instructors were amazingly friendly to students, even though they were really strict with things like our timekeeping. Halfway through the year I thought I would go into either Fashion or TV and Film. But as soon as I took airbrush classes with Daemon Cadman I knew that it was what I wanted to do. Bodypainting is my art!”

Blanche Macdonald Makeup Grad Gloria Kim, First Place at IMATS Sydney 2014

It was Fashion Makeup Instructor Jon Hennessey who first noticed that Gloria’s work had a unique artistic touch. He suggested that she should investigate entering the IMATS. Her Makeup career, aided by the Blanche Macdonald Careers Department, was already booming; bridal, graduation and prom jobs keeping her so busy that she couldn’t apply for the North American IMATS. But she managed to get her portfolio in for the Sydney competition, which led to the email, flight and two hours that changed her life.

“Soon after I came back from Sydney I went to meet a popular wedding photography company and they asked me if I was the same girl who had just won the IMATS. They knew my name and my winning Makeup. As soon as I came back to Canada I started getting higher paying jobs! They know I’ll do great work.

“I’m growing my portfolio with photographers all the time, but I’m also doing bridal work, and TV and Film, a lot of aging makeup, with film students at UBC. And it’s Halloween season now, so I’ve been extra busy!”

Blanche Macdonald Makeup Grad Gloria Kim, First Place at IMATS Sydney 2014

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Blanche Macdonald Makeup Grad Gloria Kim, First Place at IMATS Sydney 2014

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 00:00:00 PST