EDNA LUGO –
The beauty and brains behind Cut Hair Like Female, a hairdresser’s slumber party where everyone is invited.
Ally Overbay – June 13th 2016
Musician, photographer, educator, renowned hairdresser, and, as of recently, the beauty and brains behind brand Cut Hair Like Female (CHLF) — Edna Lugo’s portfolio of talents is bulging at the seams.
Born and raised in Mexico by a single mother, Lugo’s artistic endeavors were channeled at the age of 14 when she first started cutting her friend’s hair, making sure to document the sessions with photos of her work. She graduated from cosmetology school in 2008 — around the time she moved to San Diego, CA — and has since stood behind the chair, pursuing her girlhood passion (and succeeding, to say the least), while simultaneously tackling social boundaries through her work with CHLF.
Though hairdressing remains the driving force of her work and her art (which are, effectively, one in the same), Lugo has similarly made her mark in the music scene. “Music has and always will be a primary source of inspiration with everything I’ve done and do,” says Lugo.
It began with band/project, LEGS, in which Lugo played guitar and contributed vocals, until she and fellow band mate embarked on their next project, Geyser House.
Meanwhile in the world of hair, Lugo first began her journey as assistant for top hair stylist of Saco Hair, Tom Leach. He primarily iterated the basics of hairdressing, who, according to Lugo, frequently claimed, “You better know how to style, color, and cut, or you’re out of business.”
It was at this time she first began her work as an educator, joining the team for Saco Academy, demonstrating her work to other aspiring hair stylists. But it didn’t take long for her talent to go unrecognized, and the opportunities to stack up; after leaving Saco, Lugo followed mentor, Leach, to a top salon working as a stylist. Lugo recalls the impact Leach had on this transition in her career.
“Suddenly I experienced another side of the hair world — a more laidback and realistic world. It was a crucial time where Tom gave me the encouragement to become something more than another hairstylist behind the chair.” Perhaps it was this pivotal realization, or the culmination of her talent and passion-driven efforts that led to the fast-paced evolution of her career; either way, things had begun moving quickly.
Within the year, she was an instructor for a full staff at downtown San Diego’s first blowdrying bar. Soon after, she attended a demo by hair icon DJ Muldoon, and that same night, was offered a position as a hairstylist for Muldoon’s place of work, The Factory, as well as becoming the official photographer for various projects.
“Suddenly I knew that my life was about to take a turn. That night [at Muldoon’s demo], I got to help out with the team, and later asked DJ if there were any openings. His answer was ‘We’ve been waiting for you to ask that question for quite a bit; you’re in,’” re-tells Lugo.
Today, after “many cuts, colors, and do’s,” Lugo is pursuing her own project, Cut Hair Like Female, a clothing brand aimed at “women supporting women,” in which 5% of all proceeds go to the Global Fund For Women and The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary. This movement, which Lugo recognizes has manifested in various other projects and organizations throughout the world, is best described by the CHLF website itself:
“All designs are meant to encourage a strong, confident, and independent lifestyle in a playful way. Influenced by the DIY punk subculture, with a hint of Girl Power and a pair of scissors, CUT HAIR LIKE FEMALE is a hairdresser’s slumber party where everyone is invited.”
But Lugo’s work —whether it’s educating aspiring hairdressers, pursuing art via multiple mediums, or promoting female empowerment — is a starting point for others’ growth. Each endeavor, within itself, provides a platform by which others can spring forward, inspire, grow, and further themselves and their passions.