Jen Hughes on Hair, Music, and Life
Throughout Jen’s 20-year career as an accomplished stylist and educator, a true love of fashion, art, film and especially music have always fueled her creativity. She is a keen observer and appreciator of pop culture past and present, and stays in-the-know about current trends as well as their origins. These sources of inspiration combined with her world travels and her Midwestern roots make for a unique mix of influences reflected in Jen’s range of work. Whether she is creating meticulously tailored styles for her Juut salon clients, runway looks for top designers in her 21 seasons as a backstage stylist at NYC Fashion Week, or editorial styles on fashion shoots, Jen leaves her artistic fingerprint on everything she does. Her skill and creativity garnered Jen features in many local and national magazines, including Elle, Marie Claire, Redbook and Modern Salon, and earned her multiple assignments as lead backstage stylist for Target and Macy’s runway shows. As a 17-year member of the Aveda Global Purefessional Team, she has been mentored by industry leaders and renowned stylists, presented on-stage at national Aveda hair events and educated salon teams around the country and the world.
In her spare time, Jen can’t get enough live music – from intimate indie club to arena rock spectacle – and she DJs Hot Roxx, the 70s-themed music night she co-founded. She adores mid-century modern furniture and design and all things vintage, boasting impressive collections of 60s blow dryers, 70s celebrity dolls and 80s rock t-shirts to prove it. Jen calls Minneapolis home, but her dream is to apartment in NYC, winter in Joshua Tree and retire in Nashville.
Thrilled for you to get to know this beauty!! I had the pleasure of working with her once in the field in my Aveda days and instantly connected with her. I have been keeping up with her ever since.
INTERVIEW WITH JEN HUGHES:
-WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY?
Riding around in my mom’s car listening to AM Gold radio.
-WHAT DO YOU DO BEST?
Hair styling, DJing, rock show/event curating, and leading teams of hair stylists in creative endeavors.
-IF YOU COULD RELIVE A DAY OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
It would be fun to revisit my first ever haircut knowing what I know now.
-A QUOTE YOU LOVE?
This quotation is not particularly profound in and of itself, but I love this because it’s simple and earnest plus I LOVE Gram Parsons, The Flying Burrito Bros AND Nudie Suits.
“We don’t wear sequins because we think we’re great. We wear them because we think sequins are great.” - Gram Parsons
A SUMMER NIGHT SONG
A 3 AM SONG
A SONG THAT MAKES YOU NOSTALGIC
THE LAST INSTAGRAM POST YOU LIKED
AN ANIMAL you shot..
YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD PICTURE
WHAT ADVICE WOULD GIVE YOUR 13-YEAR-OLD SELF?
Savor your youth, travel often, save money, and be yourself. Everyone is buying tapes and will hail CDS as the future, but start collecting records NOW. And keep up the good work on your goth sunbathing ways by avoiding strong UV rays and wearing sunscreen. You’ll thank yourself(me) later.
What is the best risk you have ever taken?
Detouring from college to cosmetology school.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CURSE WORD?
Nothing adds emphasis like “f@%king.
WHO HAVE BEEN YOUR GREATEST LIFE TEACHERS?
Kurt Kueffner (creator of Aveda Men Hair Care and Aveda Men cutting curriculum) and Janell Geason (Aveda Global Creative Director of Makeup) are both friends and brilliant mentors.
A ROAD TRIP MOMENT
A PICTURE OF FREEDOM
THE MOST RANDOM PICTURE IN YOUR PHONE
A SONG THAT MAKES YOU THINK OF YOUR MOM
A SONG THAT YOU'RE EMBARRASSED TO LOVE
(only embarrassed by how MUCH I love this song)
WHAT JOB WOULD YOU HAVE IF NOT THE ONE YOU DO?
I would work for or own a record label like Light in the Attic or Numero Group that reissues out of print albums from the past. Or I would work in fashion.
IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE?
I love dressing hair and am endlessly fascinated by the styles of Golden Era Hollywood and some of the hairdressers who created them like Alexandre de Paris and Raymond Bessone. Since they are no longer with us, I would love to meet with some of their proteges and hear all their stories about what they learned working with the legends and the craft in general.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR LIFE WILL LOOK IN 20 YEARS?
I would split my time between Nashville styling country stars’ press junkets, in Joshua Tree creating looks for the occasional desert-themed photo shoot whilst enjoying my mid-century vacation abode there, and in Minneapolis performing studio haircuts on my most loyal life-long clientele.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
I define success by happiness. A combination of time spent on meaningful relationships and fulfilling work.
A PERFECT STYLE MOMENT OF SOMEONE ELSE'S
THE LAST SONG YOU COULDN'T GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD
A SONG FROM THE FIRST CONCERT YOU ATTENDED
A PHOTO FROM YOUR FIRST CONCERT
YOUR FAVORITE SPOT IN YOUR HOUSE
YOUR FAVORITE SHOES
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING ENCOUNTER WITH A FAMOUS PERSON?
TRUTH OR DARE?
WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE THE SUPER POWER TO FLY OR TO BECOME INVISIBLE?
I'm an introvert with wanderlust, so both.
SOMEPLACE YOU HAVE CALLED HOME
FAVE PHOTO OF WATER
A SONG FROM THE LAST CONCERT YOU WENT TO
A SONG FROM THE SUMMER YOU WERE 16
THE LAST THING YOU BOUGHT ONLINE: A Pendleton Quilt
THE LAST THING ONLINE THAT MADE YOU LAUGH
What inspires you as a hairdresser? How do you keep the passion alive and not burn out behind the chair?
I stay inspired by keeping active in a number of beyond the chair activities, e.g. photoshoots, NYFW, Aveda hair shows.
What can we do to maintain healthy hair this coming summer?
Ladies could give their hair a break from hair dryers and hot tools and embrace their natural texture during the summer months. Most women have some degree of wave or curl pattern in their hair. Summer’s humid air is the perfect opportunity to draw out that texture and maximize one’s natural wave pattern. Just add a product like Aveda Dry Remedy Oil to minimize frizz and a curl-enhancing product like Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer to accentuate and hold the curl.
What hair trends will be seeing for fall/winter?
Fall is all about short to medium haircuts for women. We’re continuing to see a lot of 70s-inspired textured shag haircuts and I’m LOVING the 90s-inspired, boyish haircuts that Guido Palau created on several models for Alexander Wang’s F/W 2017 runway show. These girls kept popping up backstage at every other NYFW show, and they epitomized fashion’s “cool girl” for me.
(PHOTOS COURTESY OF @GUIDOPALAU)
IF YOU COULD DO ANYTHING YOU WANTED TO MY HAIR,WHAT WOULD THAT LOOK LIKE?
FAVE AVEDA PRODUCT?
Fave photo of your editorial work with hair?
Fave photo from Fashion Week?
Fave photo of you at Fashion Week?
You have amazing hair??! What are your must have products?
Thank you. I wear my hair naturally wavy 90% of the time, so it's important that I have a good moisturizing conditioner to keep it healthy and detangled. For this, I use Aveda Dry Remedy Conditioner. For added texture, I'll spray in a light mist of Aveda Shampure Dry Conditioner and Aveda Air Control Hairspray.
What's next for Jen?
I'm working on some fun photo shoot collaborations this summer!
Fave SONG TO FALL ASLEEP TO
FAVE SONG TO WAKE UP TO
FAVE SONG TO DANCE TO
Shop Jen's fave products here: