Big Apple dreams: Oak Street Salon stylists take part in New York Fashion Week

Allison Yeager always had New York Fashion Week on her bucket list, but she had no idea she'd check it off this year. Yeager, the owner and a stylist at Oak Street Salon in Mahomet, and fellow stylist Trisha Smith were able to take part in the nation's largest fashion event when AVEDA "opened doors" with a two-day education event in the Big Apple that allowed the pair of stylists to work New York Fashion Week.

"It was really cool," Yeager said. "It was a completely different experience as far as being in the salon and working behind the chair."

In September, the pair received word that they would work five shows, which was impressive for the Mahomet stylists considering many were assigned only two or three gigs.

"It was insane. It was nuts," Yeager said. "There's a lot of pressure on you, but there's even more pressure as far as you do not know what you're doing until the designer tells you when he arrives at the show."

The pair worked with Jon Reyman, a leading AVEDA stylist known for his editorial looks. More than 100 stylists gathered for the fashion event and they were divided into three teams of stylists. Each show consisted of 25 to 35 models and with each look the stylists were to follow Reyman's lead.

"He demoed it for us when we arrived at the show," Yeagle said.

"It's very fast pace you have to do exactly what he tells you to do."

The eccentric looks the team prepared won't be ones Mahomet residents will likely see anytime soon.

"They were flat and smooth and very polished and very structured," Yeager said. "They were all very different because the designers' apparel was very different."

When the two returned to East Central Illinois, the salon's clients were more than impressed with the stylists recent accomplishment,

"They'd just say, 'how cool' and 'how awesome,'" Yeager said. "They'd want to know what the styles were like, what the clothing was like."

The entire experience for Yeager is surreal and one that she counts as an "honor" and "privilege."

"I'm just kind of in awe because it's not very often you get the opportunity that you get to participate in New York Fashion Week."

Yeager can recall taking a liking to hair and makeup as a child having taught herself how to do her own hair and makeup by checking books out at the library.

"I gave every doll I had artificial haircuts," she joked. "I just loved the beauty and fashion industry."

She became a licensed stylist in 2000 after finishing school and an apprenticeship with AVEDA in Elgin. Afterward, she wanted to continue her career with an AVEDA salon and saw only two locations in Illinois — Bloomington and Mahomet. She interviewed with the owner in Mahomet and eventually became the co-owner alongside her brother in 2010 and the rest is history.

"I've been there ever since and I love it," she said.

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