WARDEMENTS: The Accidental Artist

WARDEMENTS: The Accidental Artist

Legendary hair stylist Ward Stegerhoek forays into fashion.

Legendary hair stylist Ward Stegerhoek forays into fashion.

Photography: Chris Colls

Styling: Anna Trevelyan

Text: Stella Pak

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It all started in his parents' basement as all the best stories do. Two 15-year-old skaters were getting ready to head to the local club for the very first time, in front of the mirror, fixing their hair in nervous anticipation. Ward’s friend had a stubborn cowlick that wouldn’t let up, and Ward offered to fix it by using his dad’s buzzer and ended up giving him… let’s just say a look that was probably “avant-garde” for your standard 15 year old. The look ended up being a hit that night, and his friends and their girlfriends started lining up in front of his parents’ house to get their own. That’s the story that spawned Ward’s hair career for the next 30-plus years.

With hundreds of covers ranging from V to Vogue and all the books in between, major runway shows, and co-founding a hair brand, Living Proof, Ward fell into launching Wardements by another accident. It started as a joke—it's in Ward’s nature to push some buttons and make people laugh. If you follow him on Instagram, @ward_hair, you get to know his playful side.

“Well, I was working with Inez and Vinoodh on the boardwalk of Venice Beach in LA, and after 3-4 shots, they like to edit first for a while to see how the rest of the shoot will be shot," he remembers. "They get an idea of what pictures they would need next so that’s smart. But that means that I get half an hour off. So I stepped into one of those souvenir t-shirt shops on the boardwalk, and because Vetements had been making such a big hype at the time I thought, 'Oh, this is funny.' I like making people laugh… I’m on set, fixing the girl’s hair; I’m with my back to everybody that’s behind the camera. And so on my butt, instead of Vetements, I printed Wardements F/W 'dadada' as a joke. One sweater, never thinking of making a brand or anything at all.” Because of the tongue-in-cheek name play and story behind it, word got around about this hoodie.

Ward decided to just make a dozen or so of these pieces and send them as Christmas gifts to his friends. Before you know it, they ended up on Instagram, sported by the likes of Toni Garnn and Daphne Groenveld. Ward’s fanbase went into a frenzy, creating their very own campaigns as the brand was developing its own cult following. Before you know it, Ward’s fans put up a billboard for Wardements in Tokyo without him even knowing. Needless to say, the direct requests kept coming in through Instagram and retailers started making requests. The launch of Wardements was nothing but inevitable at that point. T-shirts and hoodies became a canvas for cheeky meme-like statements like the classic “Cash Me Outside”, “I’m Your Online Girlfriend”, and “Slide Inside”.

Considering that Ward is one of only a handful of legendary hairstylists of our time, his peripheral exposure to fashion watching John Galliano, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent pin and drape weeks and days before a fashion show, while collaborating with stylists through hair; fashion is second nature. Ward’s vision for Wardements is to dress “…a person with style as opposed to a person that is dressed up, or styled up. We have bomber jackets, t-shirts, hoodies, slip dresses. It’s stuff that you can wear day and night. It’s not hard to wear. It’s not stiff…”

With a pop-up shop at our very own V office on 11 Mercer featuring looks from his SS18 collection, $200 from each sale of a hoodie will go directly to the Orange Babies Foundation. The charity works to medicate, dress, and educate babies born with AIDS in Africa. “I’m just trying to do it my own little way. It’s small but I like it that way for now.” This is only the beginning of a new chapter for Ward. The FW18 collection has expanded to 95 pieces ranging from handbags, leather goods, shoes, coats, dresses suits, and denim, and will be available in 13 stores globally.

ALEXANDRA WEARS WARDEMENTS
Credits: MODEL ALEXANDRA AGOSTON (IMG)

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