PEOPLE: Following their recent hair event, we spoke to KAI about the ethos of their collective, and how they’re coping during the pandemic
Photography: Linda Andersson
Hair: Kai Collective
Makeup: Sóley Ástudóttir + team
Models: Mikas Stockholm
Casting: Julia Malmberg
In an industry where most major fashion shows continue to be led by male hair stylists, and women seem to receive a fraction of their male counterparts’ agency representation, Stockholm-based Josefin Gligic, Sofia Geideby and Annie Ankervik decided to unite, create together, and cultivate a space for innovation and empowerment. Besides being a support network of like-minded creatives, the independent collective also hold seminars, and organise editorial shoots and hair shows.
Tell us about your collective KAI and what you do. KAI was born in 2018 from creativity, passion and female togetherness. In 2020 Hillewi Gottfridsson joined the team and stunned us with her skills at our Creative Night. KAI aims to empower women and develop frontline ideas. When we work as a collective it’s not only we as hair stylists who are involved, KAI also works with other like-minded people who are brilliant at what they do, such as makeup artists, stylists and photographers. Linda (Andersson), who took these pictures at our last event, is one of the people we love to work with!
The event where these pictures were shot was a big gathering and we were invited to do a show. We took inspiration from dreamy feelings of dark and light and put them together. We aim to do a couple of big shoots together every year and hopefully we can continue with shows and seminars as soon as Covid-19 lets us.
What prompted you to start this collective together? KAI started out as a platform where we could come together and create. We aim to have one foot in the fashion world and one in the hair industry. We do collaborations for shoots, organise shows and hold seminars for both hair stylists and hairdressers. We first came together when Annie and Sofia were competing against each other in the Swedish Hairdresser of the Year competition, and Josefin was in the jury. We found ourselves pretty much super inspired by each other and decided to start evolving together. We are all independent hairdressers with successful careers and instead of seeing one another as competition, we now find ourselves working together. We all share the same values and have a strong passion for the craft.
Has the current isolation given you time to do or make something that you might not have? In Sweden the situation has been handled a bit differently than in many other countries. We haven’t been on lockdown and pretty much all businesses have been up and running. That being said things are not normal. People are practicing social distancing and for a lot of shops business is really slow. So we are all affected by cancelled and rebooked clients and jobs. With fewer working hours there has been more free time to plan and do more creative work.
“KAI aim to support women to be equal, not being sidestepped, mistreated or in any other way put down by the industry we love and thrive in!”
Have any unexpected positives come out of this incredibly difficult situation? We have all been forced to slow down and that reduces stress and enforces creativity. So that really is a good thing.
What are you hopes (and fears) for the hair industry when this is all over? A lot of hairdressers really love their jobs and I think a lot of fingers are aching to create. There has been a lot of free education available online, so we hope people are keen to be back not only just as ‘good’, but better than before. Even if this pandemic is terrifying it might just bring people together because we all went through it. One fear is that this pandemic is probably going to be around for quite a while and we will have to deal with late cancellations and there will be holes in the schedule. But looking at the bright side those holes can be filled with things that we didn’t have time for before.