In The Shadows - a creative inspiration

Brad has recently been named a finalist in the prestigious Hair Expo Australia / New Zealand Men's Hairdresser of the Year / Barber of the Year 2016 competition. The winner is announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne in June!

The collection " In The Shadows" was created to show a connection to explain how trends within different cultures are connected to self expression.  Brad explains his creative concept and how he came up with the inspiration below...

Explain the inspiration and thinking behind the collection? 

I originally came up with the idea when I was talking to one of my Russian clients, we started discussing Bratva which is the Russian Mafia, after my client commented on my own tattoos and how in Russia the Bratva have certain tattoos which have different meanings.

I was intrigued by this and decided to research the Bratva further.  During my research I discovered each tattoo is a story of who they are and where they are in their criminal life. The Bratva’s struggle of the past to present is released through their self expression.  I reflected on how the trends of this very real Mafia group in Russia have influenced tattoo and style trends from their culture across the world.

What about the hairstyles?

 I wanted my collection to bring out the rawness and internal struggles of the Bratva’s past. The Hairstyles are all very raw with rough lines and unpolished cuts, it is interpreted that they did not have their hair cut by a barber but maybe a fellow “Brother” with a knife, razor or scissors. 

And the Makeup?

Rather than a make up artist for this shoot I hired a professional artist who was skilled at sketching and drawing. Together we researched and All the tattoos have different meanings for each of the characters – crimes they committed inside / outside of prison, religious significance, stages of life or even just phrases / mottos they live by e.g. “my crazy life”. 

In the early 1950s, it became customary for thieves to tattoo dots or small crosses on the knuckles, the number of dots indicating the number of terms. The punishment for the slightest attempt to position oneself as a legitimate or to wear an undeserved tattoo was severe. At best, the tattoo would be removed with sandpaper or a razor, but it was not uncommon for the offender to be killed.  Convicts were even punished for tattooing more dots on their hands than sentences they had served, or for wearing a ring tattoo with the symbol of a crime they hadn’t committed. 

The lighting is quite different?  Why did you choose it?

The lighting was taken from the television series “Bloodline” with an Apocalypse like filter laid over the photographs – I felt this suited the collection to help bring out the sorrow in the characters eyes.

Special thanks to:

Models - Dom Lendich, Thom Oosterhoof,  Matt Genefaas, Joe Lendich Matt Fistonich

Photographer - Troy Goodall

Make Up Artist - Rachel Soothow


One of our blog readers was inspired by this post, here is what they wrote... 

"You've led me through a journey of murderers and thieves. Dark, oppressive jails that stank of unwashed men. I can feel the chill on my skin, the presence of men who had already died here, and a sense of foreboding danger. These are hard knockout men. You can tell by their "medals". They've carved into their skin with a sharp point. Every point making a shape, then washed over with an ink made of anything they could find. These are industrious characters, It wasn't an option. They had to be to stay alive. These shapes stood for something. Men were proud to wear them, to show their ranking in a jail army, the Russian Mafia. But when I look at these jail house tough men, I also see unbelievable beauty. The lines etched into there faces from hard living, and hard drinking. They way they stand upright never backing down. Never showing weekness. One bold statement each and every man could make without uttering a word. My hair is my crown. It represents who I am. I'm not lazy garbage, to be thrown into the black void and forgotten. I'm a man, I'm proud of my life's history and I'm proud of how I look. My hair is a significant part in the makeup of my personality. It shows my individuality. I can't be defined by one thing. I'm the sum of many adventures and memories. Photos show the transition of my hair throughout my life. I couldn't change the colour of my eyes, my broken nose and my Russian brow. But I could mould my hair anyway I wanted. It's the one thing in my life that has been on a long journey of transition and change. When I look in the mirror I no longer see a young man, full of testosterone and rage. I'm still a warrior, but I see a beautiful head of hair, yes it maybe greying. But it's still beautiful. It matches the scars on my face. It completes me "- Michelle Mason.