With a vintage car parked out front of Johnson City’s Tree Streets district, Bang! Salon will rev your engine. Pretty Robotic takes a look into the creative mind of salon owner, Laura Altizer.
When Laura called the only phone number for fashion school she could find, the price was far too high. That’s when she traded the infamous Parsons School of Design for the rockin’ world of hair. Today, Laura surrounds herself with the likes of Marie Antoinette, vintage pin-up girls, and those willing to hop in the driver’s seat of awesome hair.
Bang! Salon and Bettye Jane’s Vintage Clothing teamed up for the ultimate fashion show at the Chrome club in Johnson City. Pretty Robotic gets a behind-the -scenes look at the fashion show, summer hair tips, and the fabulous career of Laura Altizer.
PR: What were some of your inspirations for the hairstyles on the catwalk at the fashion show?
Laura: Looking at the ladies modeling, I tried to add a sense of class to the new age…and giving a sophisticated look we don’t see. We went with ‘cheesecake, pin-up hair from the 1940′s: feminine, sexy, and sophisticated. We went with more of a modern style with the 1980′s ‘rocker’ hair–ultimate sleeze-tastic.
PR: How can we style our hair like this at home?
Laura: Hairspray. Hairspray. Hairspray. We used a crimping iron for the rock n’ roll hair. Accessories for the 80′s: crimper and hairspray. Dirty hair works best for crimping. For the 40′s look, use a 1.5 inch barrel curling iron and bobby pins. Don’t forget a solid holding spray!
PR: What is the process for deciding the hairstyle looks for a fashion show? Are the outfits chosen first?
Laura: We worked together (with Bettye Jane’s) on that and worked to pick outfits for models during fittings. I helped with the fitting, and in doing so, we decided the looks for the models. Depending on the length of the model’s hair…the wardrobe just came together.
PR: How long have you been a hair stylist?
Laura: I’ve been beating up hair since ’96.
PR: What made you want to be a stylist?
Laura: I have always enjoyed anything fashion. From your toes to your top–it’s all about being a lollipop. It’s about the beauty and art going into hair. It is wearable, movable art. After 12 years, I’m still excited about it…even more excited about it!
PR: Speaking of excited…what are some modern hair styling techniques that excite you?
Laura: Color, color, color… and the right cut that makes the color shine, and the right color that makes the cut shine. Also, just like the old coming back to the surface and becoming new again. It gives us the right opportunity to recreate hair the way it used to be worn…where the old and new clash. It is very exciting. Tweak it up. Make it your own.
PR: What are your “can’t live without” hair products?
Laura: Super-skinny serum, scissors, color brush, color bowl, and my flat iron.
PR: What was one of your worst hair moments in history?
Laura: 1987. Home perm. Yes, on an existing bobbed haircut.
PR: Have you dyed your hair every color of the rainbow?
Laura: Every color of the rainbow? ……not yet. I haven’t done green yet.
PR: What is one look that you would love to rock, but never have because you are not sure it will look good on you?
Laura: A mohawk. I would love to rock it, but I have a Mayan Indian head…I don’t have the right shaped head.
PR: What music gets you in the mood to do hair?
Laura: It depends on what type of hair that I’m doing that day or hour. In the mornings, I love some hot jazz and rockabilly.
PR: What is the hottest hair color for Summer ’09?
Laura: Rich, rich colors: coppers, blondes, bright-lights, and chocolaty rich hair. Strawberry, chocolate-dipped hair equals good times. I place the colors in different positions with block coloring.
The sky is the limit with hair care. It is the cheapest, high-fashion, and most stated art that you’re going to put on your body. When well stated, it says a lot about your confidence and who you are. The color and clothing you like shows you what color to dye your hair. This is something that you’re not going to find at the mall; you’re not going to find those types of services. If it is that important to you–time and money…find a place that will work for you. But there could be a whole other soul in there without cut and color.
PR: What are some good tips for Summer hair care?
Laura: Summer hair care? Leave in conditioner is always good. Never submerge hair in chlorinated water. It fries it, dyes it, and leaves it on its’ side. If you use a tanning bed, use a good conditioning conditioner and wrap a towel around your head. This hydrates hair and is a great conditioning treatment. Try using sunscreen for your hair.
PR: Pretty Robotic loves the look of your salon! What was your decoration inspiration?
Laura: Just the love and admiration for vintage barber shop equipment and furniture. It has a very nostalgic inspiration with a splash of rock n’ roll.
PR: Who are the paintings of?
Laura: Nikki Six of Motley Crue, David Bowie, Gene Harlow, Veronica Lake, Claira Bowe, and Marie Antoinette. Memorable people with memorable hair through the eras. I mix the old with the new. Each one of them were their own rock star, pretty much. They were all done by a good friend of mine, Allen Brown, from Bristol.
PR: Is this your first salon that you have owned?
PR: As a strong, independent, female, business owner–what is some advice that you have for young women that are in or are looking to be in the workforce/a business owner?
Laura: Follow your dream. Set goals. Be consistent. Make it happen. Then, call it an execution. You can’t just say that you’re going to do it. At the end of the day, it’s because you have a goal.
PR: When you styled my hair, I felt so great and loved it…How does it make you feel when your clients are pleased?
Laura: It makes me feel like I’m doing exactly what I set out to do. You can’t win everybody, but you can try.
PR: How would you describe your personal style?
Laura: Eclectic to say the least. Classic at times and, other times, over the top.
PR: To someone who is covered (beautifully) in tattoos, do you think hair is a better expression of self than tattoos?
Laura: With hair color and cut, you don’t have to commit for life. You can change it, cut it, dye it, and grow it back out. There’s no commitment there. I want tattoos from my neck to my toes.
PR: What is your philosophy?
Laura: Try new things, mix it up with the old–you’ll never know unless you try the next. It’s not about getting your hair done–but it’s all about the experience. I’m always wanting to try new things, so that I can offer it to everybody else. I’m not trying to be stagnant. I’m a student everyday.
PR: What is your greatest achievement?
Laura: Everything for myself on my own–that’s it. It’s like the best thing. Even just being independent and making it happen for yourself. It gives you confidence, stability, strength, and keeps you out of jail. If you’re not getting up and making it happen, no one will do it for you.
PR: Can you see yourself doing anything else at this point?
Laura: Well, I have done a vintage clothing store, but right now I’m fired up about hair. I can take it anywhere in the world! It’s a great place to be, when you feel liberated!
To get a “Bang! Kustom Color & an Innovative Cut” contact Laura Altizer and the crew at Bang! Hair Salon at
(423) -926-2264, located at 700 Buffalo St., Johnson City, TN 37604.