Styling New York
Amy Schiappa started her professional career as a hair stylist when she moved to New York City in 1996, and since founding her salon Fringe, on the Lower East Side in 2004, she’s been an engine at the center of the hair styling community in New York.
She always knew she was going to be a hair stylist, and it didn’t take long to start along that path. In ninth grade, she went for a haircut and wound up with a mentor who taught her everything he knew in her hours after school. “Having that kind of support. It kind of makes me realize as an adult, that being a mentor, or being there or having teachers is super important, and just giving people that encouragement that they can do it.” This pivotal moment in her life not only showed Amy the workings of a salon, but also gave her an example of how to open doors for others, and lay a foundation for a community of like-minded artists. “A lot of my apprentices not only go on to become great hairdressers, they go on to become salon owners. My mentor always said ‘just go further than me’ and I’ve always taken that to heart.”
Her salon has expanded to two locations, one of which also functions as a community space for yoga, meditation, and reiki healing. So as a business owner, stylist, mom and healer, Amy has a lot to juggle. “A lot of people asked me, ‘how do you have time to do all of this’ and I say, I don't have time not to do it. Between the two locations, talking to the staff, making sure everybody is running, some days I'm teaching the apprentices and also do a meditation on Monday nights, so it kind of just aligns my life with my mind, body and spirit.” Juggling all of this with family life necessitates an open mindset, calm, and “knowing that it's not about striving to get somewhere but just taking each thing as they come and go, instead of thinking that everything depends on how something turns out…Comfort has to do a lot with making sure that I find that kind of comfortable space just set up a few minutes so that I can be helpful for other people basically. Because you're there for a lot of people.”
Long days on her feet mean that she relies on her Soft 7s to keep her moving. “ECCO shoes are comfortable enough that I can go from riding my bike to yoga to standing cutting hair all day and still cool enough to meet up at night in the Lower East Side.” Amy has struggled in the past to find the right shoes to support her busy life, even trying out orthopedic shoe inserts.
Through her work in Pilates and yoga, she’s found ways to improve her body alignment and comfort. And now with Soft 7s, she has found the right mix of style, support, and comfort. “Now ECCO is the brand that I can wear which is so lovely to find. I've graduated out of my orthotics so I can wear cooler shoes.”
An important part of finding comfort and support is being able to use that to energize the care and support she gives to the community of people around her. “You have to take care of yourself in order to be able to be there. What I love about what I do is taking care of people and being able to share this kind of work. We're giving so much of ourselves, and it's so physical. So the shoes that we wear help us be able to take care of people all day. So it's a matter of what we give back to ourselves that can help us help others.”
Amy started her path with the generous support of a mentor, and has gone on to be a mentor and healer for others, used her passions and care to build a community and family around her, and is still going strong. She says “If we can take care of ourselves long enough, we can be the wise ones to help.”
Photo Credit: JC Cancedda