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OOO-ing Studio Editorial Hair Style

OOO-ing Studio, nestled within the trendy city of Taichung, is the hair salon garnering international attention for its creative flair and precise talent. Having featured in King Kong magazine and Dazed Beauty, the team behind OOO-ing are solidifying themselves as tastemakers within the industry. Spearheaded by art director Light, the team at OOO-ing is formed of hair stylists May and Wesley. We invited the trio to talk with us about their work, customers, influences and more.

Wesley and May from OOO-ing Studio
May and Light from OOO-ing Studio

Tell us about OOO-ing studio – when did you open, and what drove you to create it?  

Light: After I met May in 2017, we fell in love in a really short time. I got to learn about the person I love, and got to know what she loves – hair styling.

Since then, I started to project and express my own thoughts onto hair, and I have completed many works with May. I felt like it was fate and destiny throughout the process. I’m a person who loves to dream and ask questions, and May can always transform these into inspirations, emotions, ideas and show them on hair styling. I felt like I was embarking on a journey full of challenge, excitement, and gradually went into the unknown.

In 2019, May and I decided to set up the hair studio, “OOO-ing”. The reason was really simple. We just wanted to have a space where we can create freely; a starting point for an official departure.

When did you begin styling hair? Are you self-taught or traditionally trained?  

Wesley: 2012.

May: 2016.

Wesley and May: There are many basic techniques in the hair styling industry (perming, dyeing, cutting, etc.), and these techniques need to be learned through traditional ways by taking courses, hair styling institutions, etc. After picking up all the basic techniques, we combine them with our own sense of beauty, preferences, personality, etc. By that, we developed our own “design and creative style”. So that’s our process: learning basic techniques through traditional methods, and then starting a series of self-learning and exploration.

May: I believe that creation requires constant self-exploration and understanding, because it is a way of expressing ourselves. And before expressing, we will need to know what we want to express. This is also the most valuable part for art creation.

Light: In accordance with what May and Wesley said, I believe that not only the hair styling industry, but also painting, music, drama, etc, need to learn their basic skills first, and then think how you will use and combine these skills to express your thoughts or emotion. I believe from here, this is the first step of “creation”, which gives “technologies” life and meaning. We believe that by adjusting the mindset to a more open state will be of great help to the creation. For example, instead of prescribing the results, we first piece together various possibilities that can be thought of at the moment, and try to combine them into styles, elements, or new ideas. In addition, improving the perception of people and things around our lives can also help with inspiration, such as the feeling of a certain moment, the special colours of orchids, the rhythm of music, and the flow of fashion that human beings develop over the past centuries, and such. In fact, there are various elements and ideas that occur in life, waiting for us to discover and receive.

May green punk hairstyle
Red alternative hairstyle by Wesley at OOO-ing Studio

What inspires you to produce unconventional hairstyles and colours? 

Wesley: I think it’s the lively, childish mood that makes me like to combine and match colours together, and that motivates me to keep trying new looks.

May: I’m kinda like a rebellious type of person, so I’m more willing to try some weird and interesting ideas than creating what most people like.

How does music influence or inspire your work? 

Wesley: Music is sound that infuses emotion. When you hear those sounds, your emotions will also be affected, and that usually inspires me. 

Light: Music is a necessity to my life. I feel that I am very sensitive to sound, and various sound combinations will cause me to generate corresponding emotions or extend into certain pictures, colours, etc. in my mind. They will accumulate in my mind (or consciousness), and by colliding or combining these with various sources, such as self-knowledge, drama, images, conversations with someone, dreams, situations, realisations, etc, it stimulates my creative inspiration and ideas. 

May: Music creates a certain atmosphere or vibe, so I usually select music that suits the moment according to my mood and thoughts. I will even imagine that I’m playing a game, and I should choose a soundtrack for this game. This helps me shift my mood and get into the moment faster.

Which musicians inspire you creatively? 

Wesley: Björk, Nicolas Jaar, Karin Dreijer, múm, Molchat Doma.

Light and May:(We like to explore and listen to different music in different atmospheres, so we think we can list the musicians we are listening to recently): Cocteau Twins, Crystal Castles, The Knife, Agar Agar, DARKSIDE, Les Elles, BABYMETAL, Grand Blanc, MANDARK, No Clear Mind, Mop Mop, Rachelle Ferrell, Antony and the Johnsons, Four Tet, múm, Massive Attack, Sleep Party People, vbnd, Greentea Peng.

Lime and black hairstyle by May
OOO-ing Studio Editorial
Orange and black hairstyle by Wesley

Do you have any historical or cultural references in your work?

Wesley: We are more influenced by the popular culture of Ura-Harajuku in the 2000s. I feel a sense of freedom and unrestricted-ness when I look at the photos of people in those eras captured on the streets. I hope my creations can also make people feel feel this way. 

May and Light: When we create, we tend to try to combine many different elements, trying to create a new and different feeling from the past. Therefore, we do not particularly refer to any history or culture as the starting point of creation, but to create a new and different feeling. A multi-faceted way of absorbing and brainstorming new sparks as you create.

What aspects of local culture would you like to share with a global audience?

Light: I think Taiwan is a very culturally diverse country. In terms of hair, the general idea in Taiwan today is to take one special hair colour and hair style as the look of a specific ethnic group, or mostly representing the natures of certain occupations. While the new generation of young people would think that hairstyle is a self-choice that shapes oneself’s style, this is somehow showing the cultural and ideological gap between generations. As a result, when the new generations express their unique ideas, many people would assume they’re challenging the so-called “old thoughts”, but it is definitely not the case, we believe that Taiwan shows great tolerance to cultural diversity. Although there are various ideas and voices in society, you can still choose who you want to be, and everyone is willing to show respect and love to each other. I like how Taiwan’s culture is based on freedom. There are different cultures, values, ideas, histories, styles, etc. in the society. I think our creations may be nourished by the atmosphere of tolerance and freedom, so the work presented in the picture incorporates many different elements.

Striped grey punk hairstyle by May
Long blue hairstyle by Wesley

Your customers seem very diverse – can you tell us about what they do?

Light: This question is really interesting! Most of our customers are engaged in artistic work such as music, painting, video, design, etc. or fashion industry such as clothing, make-up, styling, etc. They are so talented, and often with their quirky touches on hairstyles or colours, May and Welsey have created many wonderful colour combinations and hairstyles for them, and it’s always a lot of fun!

Do you find that your customers have varied or specific music tastes?  

Light: I think everyone appreciates different melodies and sounds. For example, although I often switch to different styles of music to listen to, I still find myself particularly attracted to the elements of experimental music. I think our customers are more likely to listen to music with a wide range of genres, so most of our customers will chat with us about the background music played in the studio, learn about the musicians or singers that are playing, and try to enjoy different music. But, aside from that, we seem to agree that listening to music while wearing headphones is still the most appealing way to listen to music!

If you could style any musician’s hair (dead or alive), who would it be?

Wesley: Nathy Peluso, Greentea peng, or Björk.

May: I’m more curious as to which musician would want me to style their hair, and I’d definitely love to! May I answer like this? (Laughs).

Do you think that hair reflects upon a persons’ identity? How so?  

All: Yes, but for this matter, we simply divide a person into an inner and outer state.

We believe that hairstyles are generated through choices, so what kind of person will choose what kind of hairstyle? For example, when you are creating a character while starting a game, everyone can choose a haircut that suits best to their own character! Despite this, it doesn’t fully represent their inner state.

OOO-ing Studio Coloured Hair Editorial

How do you consider the atmosphere in your work at the studio? 

Light: In this almost all-white, lab-like space, we play background music in different languages and styles. Customers come from different countries with their hair dyed in different colours, and then everyone shares their interesting experience of their work or interests that they are passionate about. Sometimes you will hear them talking about their different views on current events or social issues; sometimes you will also see them immersing themselves in their spiritual world with books or drawing tools, etc.

I often joke about how we are unusual and strange as a studio, you could find every makeup, dress, style, ideas, etc. that the general public see as “weird & niche” here, but this space transforms them into “normal things”, and are all worth sharing and loving. I believe and hope to maintain the free atmosphere of OOO-ing Studio, so everyone can have a chance to feel this unique environment of the studio.

My best buddies and I knew each other well before the studio started, so when we were creating, we were able to communicate in our own language and get into situations right away, which was part of what I really enjoyed. Our crew is always able to know where I want to place the colours on the hair right away, what images I want to show, etc. We create hair styles every day, and we fully enjoy the process of it.

You have received a lot of international attention – do you have any plans to cater to these markets?  

Light: Honestly, there aren’t any plans to cater to these markets yet. I think we’re having a really good time so far, although it feels unrealistic, but my original intention is to build a space where “anything can happen”. We do not define any developments in a certain type, and try to ensure that every work process can be exerted and enjoyed. We have had many cooperation opportunities with brands in different fields this year, which is very important to us. It was a great new experience, and I’m looking forward to continuing to experience more and more different experiences in the future, creating more possibilities for hair styles.

Striped red punk hairstyle by May
Pink hairstyle by Wesley

Clearly, hairstyling is a skilled and expressive art form – what other art forms do you appreciate?  

Wesley: Music, 3D modeling.

May: Game design, Fashion design.

Light: Literature, Drama. If there is a chance, we are very willing to make different creations. We believe that all forms of art have one thing in common, which is representing the perception of beauty in our mind. In fact, hairdressing, painting, sculpture and music are all connected. The only difference is that everyone chooses a different medium to create.

Although a tangible hair style can never be replaced, we are now seeing the virtual world rapidly develop. Do you think there is a place for hairstyling in the virtual world, and what do you think it looks like?  

Light: This will definitely be very interesting. Hairstyles in the virtual world can break through the limitations of real hairs, which will have more room for hairstyle creation, and even overcome the distance problem in the real world. We could also design hair for more people and create more connections with people from different fields.

Wesley, May and Light from OOO-ing Studio
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