Mickey Svircevic, is an Aussie living in Toronto, who owns and operates District Hair Studio with his business partner, Karyn Marie. Our Q&A with Mickey is the first of our four-part series on Design Thinking.
Mickey’s ability to envision – and craft – beauty on his canvas (people and hair) through his own special brand of hair styling is a unique take on design thinking that we greatly appreciate. He approaches each client opportunity with a very specific mindset, one that is focused on showcasing the inner beauty and personal style of his subject through the external style he creates. Mickey doesn’t focus only on the outward aesthetic of the person he’s designing a style for. He creates a connection with each client who ends up in his chair, listening, anticipating and intuitively forming a holistic vision for them. He reminds us that creativity comes from within, first and foremost, and is intensely individual. His goal is to help showcase the real, authentic inner self of his clients through one of their most important external canvases, their hair.
Best of all, Mickey, does everything with joy – he’s always searching for the better, bigger, more inspired way to enhance beauty and encourage self-love. By infusing his art with authenticity and connection he reminds us that style is yet another opportunity to appreciate every unique human spirit.
What design thinking do you employ when you style hair?
Styling hair requires the perfect combination of art and science. You design a different, unique combination for every different person you work with.
The science side of things is everything from learning about how chemicals in products will react with a person’s hair, understanding PH levels, knowing how to open and close the hair cuticle – you make the products and all other elements at play work for each individual, not the other way around.
Now the art element is intuitive. I can sense when my clients need a change. As soon as they walk through the door, I get an immediate vision in my head of what I need to do with their hair. That vision is informed by everything from their personality and lifestyle to body type.
My design thinking is a mix of that scientific understanding and artistic instinct.
What do you try to achieve with each hair design?
Whether we’re talking about hair or life in general you’re looking to achieve balance. And you have to remember you’re helping to frame and showcase a key element of someone’s visual identity.
The relationship between a stylist and client is the most intimate kind of service connection you can have. Think about it – there are only two people who will touch your hair on the regular – your partner and your stylist.
First and foremost, I’m a people person and when I’m designing a look for someone, I’m taking into consideration everything about them.
How did you develop your creative process?
I kind of fell into hairdressing. I was just looking for a job as a teenager, but then I worked with a mentor in Australia who knew everyone who walked through the door – he was the heart of a community and I loved that. I wanted to build that connection with the people I create hair designs for.
After I got my training and established myself in Australia, I worked all over North America, at tradeshows, doing celebrity styles etc. That was my grounding and now, it’s become a craft for me. The older you get, the better you get, like a bottle of wine. I’m even better at building connection now, and that translates into better design vision.
How does having your own salon space inspire creativity?
We designed the salon for our people, our clients. We created a space that is fresh and exciting and encourages people to just stop by anytime. They feel the connection here and like being part of something, a community.
You can sense the energy when you walk through the door – everything from the urban chic décor to our tea and cocktail bar encourages people to relax and stay a while. We have the power to set the mood and change someone’s energy. And we funnel that positive energy into their unique hair story.