Hairdresser Craig Rhodes and owner/operator of Smitten Hairdressing will be working at New York Fashion Week. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
The bright lights of New York Fashion Week might seem far from life in the capital, but one group of Canberrans is bringing a touch of Aussie style to the event.
Greenway hairdresser Craig Rhodes has been invited to work at some of the world's biggest fashion shows. He will use Australian-made Original & Mineral hair products infused with banksia flower, Tasmanian sea kelp and lilly pilly.
Original & Mineral's creative director and fellow Canberran, Janelle Chaplan, will also be working behind the scenes.
Mr Rhodes, 39, says Australian hairdressers are in demand wherever they go. The quality of the country's hairdressing, he says, is up there with the best, despite the lack of global recognition.
"I think it's all a good indication that Canberra isn't this backward little town,'' he said.
''The fashion culture is really building here, with traders and designers on Lonsdale Street and Zara opening, I think it can only go upwards."
Customers at Mr Rhodes' hair salon, Smitten Hairdressing, have been supportive of their favourite hairdresser's big trip. They have posted messages on the salon's Facebook page and on Twitter.
''I think some are more excited than I am,'' said Mr Rhodes, whose journey to success didn't start quite so glamorously.
He grew up in Young and worked as ''a typical Canberran public servant'' before having a career change at age 24.
''I've only been in the industry for 15 years, and that's considered a late start,'' he said.
But that hasn't stopped Mr Rhodes from working his way up the ladder, first styling hair for GQ magazine and Vogue runway shows, and now stepping on a plane to one of the world's fashion capitals.
He admits that ''having a Canberra hairdresser in a New York fashion show'' is a rarity.