“I’m always mesmerized by women’s beauty. Whether I’m on set or at my salon, I strive to create an atmosphere of comfort in order to make my clients feel good. Chatting with them as I go about my work allows them to just relax. I want to help them feel beautiful.”
What Goes Down at My Salon
Yasuo Yoshikawa(YY) So, what is it like owning a hair salon?
Shinichi Fuyuki (SF) I worked at Hair Dimension as a salon director and manager before it went out of business. After it closed, some of my fellow colleagues and I started our new salon, Sui.
YY In the 90’s, I watched this reality TV show where hairstylists show off their techniques as they competed against one another. Hair Dimension was a breeding ground for cutting edge styles, and a lot of that was thanks to the innovative techniques of the stylists. During that time period, they were trend-setters.
SF Yes, that was when the idea of the ‘charismatic hair stylist’ was all the rage within the industry. A stylist would become well known for a particular cut or style, and they would then offer it to all of their customers. This type of marketing was incredibly profitable for hair salons. Over time, we’ve gone through many trends. I remember the mushroom cut, the perms of the 80’s, and eventually the “natural beach hair” look. What’s it like in New York? What’s trending right now?
YY Trends are harder to spot in New York because people sport so many different hairstyles.
SF It’s the opposite here in Tokyo. Everyone has very similar, trend-oriented haircuts in this corner of town.
YY New York is so focused on self-expression—people enjoy experimenting with trends and keeping up with current styles. Although some may go for more outlandish or wild looks, the no-makeup makeup look is also super popular as well.
I feel like the whole hair salon and styling industry has changed rapidly over the past few decades. What caused such a shift?
SF It’s all marketing. For both the private salon owner and the entire industry itself, what’s new is what’s profitable. But eventually, trends become old and must fade out. I want something more for both my own work and my customers. There are salons in the area that have been around for a long time, and they just do their thing. They’re not particularly influenced by trends. I really look up to that. They’re kind of like what you told me about style in New York, and how the people there interpret trends in their own ways. That’s how I want my salon to be, although in Tokyo, people really emphasize what’s “trendy”. We’re always looking for the next big thing. Despite all of this, I want to stay true to my aesthetic, and enjoy my own beliefs about beauty and lifestyle.
Let Your Feelings Guide You
YY How do you interact with your female clientele?
SF I want to create hair and makeup styles that suit their personality and image. I start off by observing their mannerisms, their expressions, and the ways that they touch their hair. These cues help inspire me to create something in line with the woman’s ethos. I want to bring out her inner personality, and not just her surface level. Her character must shine through first and foremost, because I believe that the inner beauty of a woman is the most alluring.
YY There are some actresses you’ve worked with for many years. What’s it like working with them for a long-term basis? Do you ever feel like you’ve run out of ideas to use?
SF Yes, that can happen. So, I then look at it as a collaboration, and we explore new options together.
YY Trends change, and even your own taste can change overtime. Playing around with what you feel in the moment can be much more fun.
SF You learn a lot working with actresses, especially as they age. As I’ve observed these changes, I’ve realized the importance of maintaining beautiful hair and skin throughout your entire life. For example, the natural dewy skin that you describe in your book is something that I think about often nowadays. Before that, many others and I believed that fully covered, made-up skin was the perfect look. Since then, I’ve come a long way, and I feel like I’ve finally arrived at my vision of what I like.
But I can’t believe you’ve been doing this no-makeup makeup look for nearly twenty years. What was it like when you introduced this idea at New York Fashion Week?
YY It was unbelievable. At the time, I was doing something that no one else was doing, so I went to NY because I believed in the technique and my philosophy behind it.
Omotesando: A Land of Beauty
YY What does Omotesando mean to you?
SF I came here from Nara, and always knew that I wanted to immerse my lifestyle in Omotesando. It’s become my second home. I always dreamed about opening a salon here, and now I have one in a quiet little corner of the street. I’ve always wanted to create in an environment that is serene. Most of our customers are sophisticated women. So naturally, our salon is not about churning things out in volume, rather we offer latest innovations that is high in quality, gentle on hair. We want it to be long standing and known for quality and service.
YY You must get customers of all ages.
SF A lot of our work centers around accommodating our customers throughout all stages of life. I can remember a few great examples.
A woman in her 70’s came in the other day and asked to make her look “beautiful.” She comes to us on a regular basis for maintenance treatments, so her hair has incredible vitality. Coming to our salon is an enjoyable part of her hair care routine.
And once, a little five-year-old girl came into our salon with her mother. Years later, she came back to visit us as a teenager, and she was so much more grown up.
We also specialize in guiding women through a variety of physical transformations. When women start reaching their 30’s, their hair and body begins to change. We recommend products that help fit that shift. Our work should bring them a sense of joy about their changing selves. It’s rewarding to be able to see people as they evolve throughout life.
An All-Natural Vision
SF I was blessed to be mentored by so many great people throughout my career. In return, I strive to educate the younger generation. Even though our business is rapidly expanding, it’s important to keep high quality products and innovation at the center of our store’s narrative. I want to continue hiring great staff members.
I also want to make hair products of my own. It’s been on my mind for some time now.
I come from a family of farmers. I grew up watching my grandparents grow things in tune with nature, and therefore have a lot of respect for nature. My goal is to create natural hair products using ingredients sourced by farmers in Japan.
YY It’s amazing how much your upbringing inspires you.
SF I sincerely believe that I can enhance and nurture a woman’s true beauty by being gentle and understanding. Thinking about my ever-growing vision and dreams for the future is really exciting.