Founded in 2005 by hairdressers Jorge Cancer, JoséLuis Almendral and Marco Antonio Restrepo, X-presion is a Madrid-based research and design studio which combines hair with technology. “We are the first company dedicated exclusively to R&D (Research and Development) in hairdressing,” explains co-founder Jorge Cancer. “We don’t have salons, so we spend all our time on innovation. That’s our aim as a company: creating new techniques, new types of events and services for the salon.”
X-presion by Nacho Casado
X-presion’s projects are broad in scope, combining different creative disciplines in search of new hair techniques, which they share through one-off events, seminars and collections. In 2015, they developed a technique of colouring hair to resemble pixels on a screen. Dubbed #xpresionpixel, the technique quickly went viral, introducing X-presion to a worldwide audience. Would they describe themselves as hairdressers? “I think ‘HeadHackers’ defines us better,” Cancer says, “we started to use it this year because it not only summarises what we do with hair, but what we try to promote in the industry. To hack minds and become open to new ways of thinking, changing the rules with a much more open code.”
We spoke to X-presion’s Jorge Cancer to find out more about the studio’s unique approach to hair, and why they believe it’s imperative for hairdressers to embrace modern technology.
Curro de los Rios (#xpresionthread)
“We didn't want to spend our lives doing things we didn’t believe in. To us, exploring is a necessity.”
‘Hairdressing’ feels like the wrong word to summarise what you do… how would you describe what X-presion is about? Yes, it took a while for our families to understand what we do! Mum is still asking when we’re going to open a salon…
We feel that being a hairdresser is one of the most beautiful professions you can have, but it’s true that we’re involved in many things outside of doing hair. We’re a collective, incorporating artists of different disciplines, and also a production company that produces events, image campaigns, video art…. There are so many different ways to work within hairdressing. We started X-presion because we were bored of how the fashion and hair industry works. Always talking about ‘now the 90s are back mixing with the 20s’, the ‘ice blondes’ or whatever bullshit every season… We all know this is a marketing thing to ensure you sell things without risk. We understand that companies have to sell and are not against that, but someone has to push to incorporate some new things into the industry. Technology is changing our lives so quickly and I don’t understand how we can still be doing the same things decade after decade. That’s why we decided to dedicate our time to R&D and education.
Colour Coded (Vogue.it & Vision) Photography Paco Peregrín Hair X-presion Styling Kattaca Make-up Yurema Villa Model Antonio (Circus Management) Artwork PacoPeregrin.com
Your pixel hair technique went viral upon release, and continues to be a huge trend. Can you tell us about the creation of this concept? #xpresionpixel was the consequence of different techniques we had created previously. We started to explore colour in horizontal lines with our first collection X-kizoo in 2005, which allowed for different effects and visual trickery in the hair. We’ve been exploring this more and more, collection after collection. With the Reta2 collection in 2012, we created textures which resembled things like linen and scales. One of the key things with #xpresionpixel is that the effect is truly 3-dimensional, which was never seen before. And more than a trend, it’s now a technique and new service in salons. Luckily it became popular thanks to social media. It went viral the day after we published it on our Instagram, with publications like Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue and Elle Magazine all talking about it. Now there are hairdressers all around the globe that we have taught this technique to. To be honest, the best thing is that it’s not that difficult, the students that come to our studio quickly learn it when given the right tools and instructions.
Biascut Photo (Super Mario Hair)
What is inspiring you at the moment? JoséLuis Almendral and Marco Antonio Restrepo (X-presion co-founders) inspire me more than anything. They are not only the best hairdressers I’ve ever met, they also have more drive, determination and bravery than anyone I’ve ever known. What we decided to create 12 years ago sounds nice when you read about it, but it took lot of energy. It was also a lot of fun… I think the three of us have made something really unique and I feel really lucky to have them as my partners and friends.
How would you sum up your relationship with hair in 3 words? Express, Create and Share.