Tim Duenas creates runway looks for luminaries like Carolina Herrera and Betsy Johnson, leads hair direction on TV shows like Project Runway and Glee, and shapes trends at international shows and seminars. Since joining our team in 2010 he’s impressed us with his commitment to clients, craftsmanship, creativity, and education. He recently became a Master Stylist –– a title we only give to those with a world-class portfolio. To celebrate, this Q&A interview takes us into the life and times of one of the industry’s rising stars... 
 
Tim, you were a successful stylist on the west coast before moving east. Tell us about the early part of your career? 
 
I grew up by Huntington beach and surfed with two salon owners. I liked their lifestyle, so I took an apprenticeship at Carlton Hair. I completed their two-year training program in nine months; within a year of picking up scissors I was taking clients. Through Carlton, I went to the Vidal Sassoon Academy almost every week for three years, which gave me a great understanding of technique, and that meant I could facilitate in-salon and advanced education. My career took off from there.
 
What was the next step? 
 
I moved to Aveda, Costa Mesa. It was the busiest salon on the west coast, with a reputation for empowering stylists to build education programs that could be shared with the Aveda network. After becoming a Purefessional (Aveda network educator) I was able to write curricula for hairdressers. I was traveling, teaching, and building my reputation. 
 
Carlton Hair and Aveda both have strong, distinct reputations. How did their approach to hairdressing differ?
 
With Carlton I learned a technical understanding of the fundamentals: cutting lines, layers, and graduations precisely with scissors. Aveda is different. There is more emphasis on visual, free-hand cutting. It’s more intuitive, creative. Learning different styles has made versatility my greatest strength. Nowadays, I enjoy the freedom of the visual approach more than following technique. But understanding both disciplines, and the times when you need them, is what makes a top stylist. 
 
You have an amazing editorial portfolio. How did you get into this kind of work?
 
At Aveda I met Jon Reyman, one of the world’s great editorial stylists. I’m proud to say he became my friend and mentor. I shadowed him and held pins for him while he taught me about styling hair. I became his first assistant and worked on some incredible shows, like Carolina Herrera, Betsy Johnson, and Naum. We still work together. I manage Jon’s editorial team and lead shows for him during Fashion Week. 
 
Was this how you got into hairstyling for TV?
 
Once I was experienced I looked for my own opportunities. I did catalog work for JC Penny’s and Macy’s, which introduced me to the Project Runway team. I was given a chance and I haven’t looked back. I’ve done five seasons, including leading the finale twice. I’ve also worked on Project Runway All-Stars, Project Runway Accessories, and Glee.  
 
What made you move to New York, and ARROJO?
 
I transferred to Aveda NYC to be closer to the fashion industry. Once I got here, I saw so much opportunity that I wanted to branch out. My other good friend and mentor at Aveda was Gerard Scarpaci. In the same vein as I shadowed Jon for styling, I shadowed Gerard for cutting, especially razor-cutting. Funnily enough, Gerard started working for ARROJO and recommended me to Nick. Nick called and said: “You should go into every salon you have dreamed of and hang out, to see if it’s right for your path.” I appreciated that. After taking a look around, I knew ARROJO was my destination. 
 
What was it like to transition from Aveda, California, to ARROJO, New York?
 
The New York clientele is very discerning. In California, most clients let you do what you want. Here, the client wants to know about trends, products, blow-drying. Time is also important in New York. People like to ‘wash and go.’ How much time a person spends styling their hair affects the cut you give them. I like it here as getting to know my clients means I can tailor their look to their personality and lifestyle. One of my things is to work by the door, so I can see my clients walk in. It gives me a feel for how each client holds themselves, their sense of style; then I apply that insight to the cut.
 
ARROJO is famous for razor-cutting How have you adjusted to the razor?
 
I was brought up with scissors, and spent years mastering the tool, so I will always love shears; and an expert can do almost anything with either. But the razor creates soft, lived-in looks more easily, so it’s great for efficient, low-maintenance modern cuts. Perhaps what clients don’t realize is that a razor removes length and weight at the same time, whereas, with scissors, removing length and weight is a two-step process. 
 
You’re now an ARROJO educator, spending a lot of time on the road. What do you see in salons across the country? 
 
I mostly teach at Ambassador Salons. As they carry ARROJO product, they have a connection to our culture, yet what’s exciting is why they want that connection: They want to move forward, improve. Working with us gives them education and inspiration that they can use in their salon, on their clients. It’s great to see so many dedicated to the craft. I teach everything from product usage and styling to advanced scissor and razor cutting, but what I see is that the energy and the enthusiasm to elevate the craft is not exclusive; it’s everywhere.  
 
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk. Let’s finish with your trend predications for 2014...
 
For men, 2014 will see an evolution of barbered looks: More military, extreme, and masculine. Trends usually have to reach an apex before ending; once barbered styles start to look less tough, people will move on. By next fall I expect a new trend, inspired by the aesthetic of the 1960s Mod culture, to emerge. I anticipate longer backs and sides with shorter tops, creating disciplined masculine shapes with deconstructed edges. For women, the evolution of the one-length bob continues. We’ll see lots of collarbone lengths, strong perimeters, and cuts that are heavy on the bottom. As an overall feeling I predict a lot of ethereal, fairytale, mermaid, and whimsical styles –– full-bodied, with removal of weight, like a goddess. 
 
Tim Duenas is a full-time master stylist at ARROJO. To book an appointment with him, please call: 212 242 7786.
 
 
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