Pin It
HAIRMASTER zine by Yuho Kamo
Photography Éamonn Freel, make-up Lynski, hair Yuho KamoCourtesy of HAIRMASTER zine

Hair-raising! Inside the new zine that mixes hair and horror

Hairstylist Yuho Kamo’s debut zine HAIRMASTER – made with distorted imagery and disturbing CGI – is all about ‘the scary taboos in underground London’

For Yuho Kamo, hairstyling is a form of destruction. Distorted and deviant, his experimental work draws on counter-cultural references and bad taste to offer an antidote to the bland and conventional hair that dominates the mainstream. It’s a style that has seen him tapped for collaboration with the likes of Heaven by Marc Jacobs, Rina Sawayama, and Megumu for i-D Japan. Now, the Japanese hairstylist is releasing a new zine, HAIRMASTER, and it’s his most radical work yet. 

Photographed and directed by Kamo, HAIRMASTER is packed full of styles cut to spike opposition to popular beauty. Taking inspiration from horror and thriller movies like The Cell, the zine features ultra-spiked hair on apocalyptic, distorted CGI images. Each hairstyle has either an animated or hyper-realistic rendering of wigs, including with super-pigmented dye and frosted tips. Beauty and bad taste combine through the use of only synthetic, plastic-like hair, while the images are rendered in the distorted horrors of London. “Even if it’s a bad taste, I have a correct answer within myself,” says Kamo. “I just wanted to express what I thought was cool and beautiful.

Punk is clearly a big influence on the work, with buzz cuts and exposed wig tracks evoking the deviance of counter-cultural movements and the vandalism and taboos that come when people don’t feel like they have a stake in society. One image in the zine sees a chipped-tooth figure with a sharp pixie cut smoking from a skull-shaped pipe held in bandage-wrapped fingers. Kamo’s use of distasteful modifications in the zine may feel uncomfortable — an angry growl from a boy with spiked, green hair in the foetal position – but that discomfort and dysfunction is the point. Moulded and set into sharp spikes, the styles demonstrate the horrors of arrogance and grotesque beauty in the “weird” alternative genre of Japanese-British subculture Kamo exists in. 

HAIRMASTER will be a limited edition, with just 100 copies available when it drops in mid-June. Dazed spoke to Kamo about bad beauty taste, must-watch sci-fi films, and how his new zine is all about the scary taboos in underground London.

What is the meaning behind the name HAIRMASTER?

Yuho Kamo: I have no theme or concept for this book. I just wanted to express what I thought was cool and beautiful. There is no meaning. 

Why do you prefer bad taste as opposed to traditional beauty? 

Yuho Kamo: Beauty is very nice, but there are many hair stylists who are better than me. Even if it’s bad taste, I have a correct answer in myself, so it’s cool. Inspiration comes from everyday play and conversations with friends. There are no boundaries between work and play. There are many people in the industry who are much more technical than me.

How would you describe your zine? 

Yuho Kamo: When you come to the UK, style is your freedom. After coming to London, it became somewhat clear I don’t want to pursue hair. I made it [by] thinking about fun things. My inspiration [is] terror, grotesque beauty, and arrogance. Not beautiful [things], but weird. I think I have a good eye and can make any character. 

What subcultures do you use as a reference in your work?

Yuho Kamo: I use everything. I don’t want to do just one thing; I live in an area with kids, uncles, old men, families – [just] a really general, normal area. I’m very interested in everyone. It looks weird sometimes. In Japan, the culture is very straight, not too interesting, but here it’s very interesting. People are very angry at the butcher and fish shop. I really like colours, sports cars, racing cars, motocross, motorbikes, extreme sports. I really like Top Gear Official Annual 2011, [and] I used to watch the WRC [World Rally Championship], a European racing game. I think my inspiration has always been like this.

Why did you only work with synthetic hair?

Yuho Kamo: Everyone normally uses human hair, but I don’t want to do the same as everyone else. That’s why I use synthetic hair. I also really like synthetic hair because it looks like plastic. I feel like a kid. I don’t want to make big hair like a classic style. I don’t like classic styles. I like new and fresh things, and I really like spiky hair, but I don’t think it looks punk, I like more costume looks and sci-fi, grotesque, scary things.  

CGI and digital art is a common theme in your work. What do you like about it? 

Yuho Kamo:  I’ve always loved digital, and I used to watch BEAST WARS: TRANSFORMERS a lot when I was a kid. But I didn’t do CGI by myself. The photographer has CGI skills, and I found him two years ago and I really like him. I really like cheesy graphics, bad comedy and anime. I posted his work on Instagram stories when I found him and he sent me a thank you message and after a year we decided to collaborate. [AI allows me to] get closer to my ideal. 

Did you collaborate with any other artists on the hair zine?

Yuho Kamo: I did direction, hair and shooting. I created an environment where I could maximise my expression with as few people as possible. However, when it comes to make-up and calling models, I chose someone with newness and character.

How would you describe your hair styling process?

Yuho Kamo: [I just] create new work, I don’t think about the process. Sometimes I start with a drawing and sometimes I decide on a style while touching the hair. I have assisted Kiyoko Odo 10 times, studied photo shoots and hair styling for shooting in a hair salon when I was in Hiroshima, a creative hair salon. The owner appreciated UK culture, that’s why I do creative photoshoots and styling. Japanese hairdressers usually do everything for seven years at hair salons in Japan. I moved to London three years ago, so my style has changed considerably. The things I used to love have returned from the past. I have a lot of fun working on it now.

Join Dazed Club and be part of our world! You get exclusive access to events, parties, festivals and our editors, as well as a free subscription to Dazed for a year. Join for £5/month today.