For the past 4 years, Spruce Salon has participated in the “Catwalk for Clean Water” at a small venue located in downtown Austin, Texas, called The Mohawk. This event is a fashion show which includes Aveda salons all around the Austin area, and is the time when hairstylists’ hustle to make sure their models are flawless for show time. However, there is more to the production than the glitz and glamour of showing off impeccable hair and makeup skills. These salons get together to raise money for clean water in countries such as Madagascar, where it is a daily struggle to provide clean and safe water to families in need.
Thanks to Aveda salons, this problem has been solved for many, and they continue working on giving back to those in need through other ways as well- in fact, I recently purchased a soy candle that not only has delightful scent, but also donates to the same cause I mentioned for only $12.
The Aveda salon that I got to work with is named Spruce Salon, located in Bee Caves, a small area in Austin. It was rated as one of the Top 100 Salons in the USA by Elle Magazine. This prestigious store, owned by Leah Webb, is one that I would recommend to everyone in the area whether you are looking to spice up your color or try a new hairstyle!
Since Aveda uses all natural vegan products, you can achieve whatever color you want with your hair while keeping it healthy and shiny. The amazing Allie Baker transformed my hair color from black to light brown for the summer and Angie touched up my shape with a beautiful trim to get rid of all the breakage. Spruce Salon is THE place to go to if you’re lucky enough to live in the beautiful city of Austin (even though I would still make the drive regardless if I was located a little further).
After meeting with the wonderful ladies of Spruce Salon, I was given the opportunity to cover their part in the fashion show- and let me tell you, the stylists put in HOURS of work into the aesthetics to make sure that their models are stage ready, and they did a phenomenal job. However, besides the hair and makeup, it was the apparel designed by Lauren Neal that completely stole the show.
Lauren decided to make a first-time debut of her clothing line Illoume at the fashion show. Luckily, I got to have some one on one time with her to get the inside scoop on the designs featured, which were the main attraction at the Catwalk for Clean Water.
Lauren, who went to school for fashion design at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) decided to launch her work for the first time at this event since she “used to be a colorist for Spruce Salon. I learned so much about life and myself after working there, so when Meryl asked me to do the clothing for them I thought it was the perfect outlet to launch Illoume! I also was happy to know that all of the proceeds from the event went to the Gulf Restoration Network.”
When I first saw the Spruce Salon models appear from the dressing room in Lauren’s handmade clothing, I instantaneously fell in love with the vibrant color palette she incorporated on the fabrics and shapes she achieved with designs that she first sketches on paper and then sews all by herself. However, there is more to Illoume than that- “Illoume is a seasonless clothing line- meaning that everything I design is meant to be able to be worn year round. I create the clothing based on the idea that you can minimize your closet to key pieces that are well designed and easy to layer on top of each other so as to emphasize the idea of buying less and wasting less.” To me, Lauren’s idea of season-less clothing is genius, considering the fact that the weather here in Texas is absolutely unpredictable year round!
Since I can’t imagine all the late nights and endless hours that Lauren puts into her line, I couldn’t help but wonder how stressful preparing for the fashion show was and how she handled her pre-show anxiety. However, she stayed calm, cool and collected and told me “I had a LOT of encouragement from friends and mentors. My previous internship last year with Curlee Bikini taught me so much about preparing for fashion shows and how to go about these sort of things in a professional, organized and well-thought out manner. Working with Mallory on her collections helped me to get a feel for what I was to expect and her guidance throughout my first fashion show was a major help with pre-show anxiety for sure!”
The Catwalk for Clean Water fashion show of Aveda was one of the most amazing events I have been able to be a part of as a fashion blogger thanks to Spruce Salon, and it made the experience even more worthwhile by having the opportunity to witness a young and talented designer show off her work for the first time. Of course, Lauren seemed pretty satisfied with the outcome of the night as well. “My best memory throughout this whole experience was probably at the end of the night realizing how many people had come to support me and that really meant a lot. A total accomplishment! This past year has definitely been one for learning but I am very happy with where things are now and there is no way I could have done it without all of those people there that night.”
So the real question is, where is Illoume planning to go from here and can we purchase any of her authentic apparel yet? Well, “In the next year I am hoping to produce a full collection with more developed garments that really show the concept of layering key pieces year round. I would like to perfect my brand and have a complete launch of the clothing line as well! I do not currently have anything for sale officially online, but hope to soon. Meanwhile you can see what all Illoume is up to @illoumeapparel on instagram.”
In the snapshots from Illoume’s photo shoot and the actual fashion show, you can also spot jewelry provided by Raven + Lily and shoes by Fortress of Inca (both local companies in Austin) and photography by Daniel Weathers. I highly suggest that you follow Lauren’s instagram on @illoumeapparel to stay in the know on when her clothing is officially up for your shopping needs, and @sprucesalonatx to view their daily hair transformations and so that you can make an appointment ASAP to get your summer locks ready for vacation!
Thanks for going behind the label with me to see what Illoume and Spruce Salon is all about. They'll be your two new obsessions!