Fashion Awards Winners Travel To Denmark




Every year Rocco Altobelli Salons hosts one of the most prestigious and creative hair and fashion shows in the Twin Cities – The Rocco Altobelli Fashion Awards (RAFA). Established in the early 1970’s, RAFA provides a platform for professionals of the Rocco Altobelli Salons & DaySpas network to showcase their creativity and technical expertise across six different categories: hair cut and color, nails, makeup, total look, and manscape.  To ensure representation of global fashion trends, Rocco Altobelli Salons brings in respected hairdressers and industry professionals from around the world to judge the best of the best.

For 2017, Sascha Hirtsgaard, an Officer in the Ordre de la Chavalerie, Intercoiffure Mondial, and a member of the Fondation Guillaume fashion team, flew in from Denmark to act as this year’s celebrity judge. Surrounded by local industry professionals and a team from manufacturing partner Matrix / Logics, over 100 models were critiqued to determine this year’s winners.

Those winners – Dylan Harrison-Raad (Edina), Mickie Nightengale (Burnsville), Josie Schwarz (Rochester), Kristen Czaplewski (Woodbury) – won the trip of a lifetime, joining Sascha in her native homeland of Denmark where they experienced, firsthand, Danish lifestyle and culture, worked with international hairdressers from Intercoiffure Mondial, and designed a photo shoot with an international vision in mind.



Hygge Mode:  Hygge – (/ˈhjuːɡə/ HEW-gə): acknowledging a quality of charm, comfort or coziness that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)


Every part of planning this trip was designed to inspire the team’s creativity through a cultural vision, from the creation of a unique Rocco Altobelli Denmark travel app, to working closely with Sascha Hirtsgaard, and fellow Danish hairdresser Christel Hestbek, to bringing in Danish stylist, Jonas Bjorn Worup to plan a wardrobe true to the Danish style, to the sites that were chosen for the shoot.

The trip began in Helsingor, Denmark, home of Sascha’s salon, Guys & Dolls Intercoiffure, where they collected inspiration from Kronborg Castle – the original setting of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

After touring the city and its surrounding countryside, the team made a quick stop in neighboring Sweden before traveling on to Copenhagen where the fun and planning really began.

After an architectural boat tour through the canals of the nation’s seaside capital, the group got to work.  Allan Kliim, the President of Intercoiffure Denmark and founder of Kliim Coiffure, graciously opened his salon to the team to plan, prep, and dress the models for the photo shoot. The team worked together to construct vision boards taking their inspiration from the trip to develop a shoot that used their individual and combined talents to bring Hygge Mode to life.

For Josie, the trip to Denmark was an unforgettable experience both personally and professionally. She told us that, “From the moment we arrived in Denmark, it felt like we were stepping into a fairy tale.  The sights, the sounds, the food, and the people were all so inspiring.”

She added that, “When it came time to do our photo shoot, it was very easy to turn our inspiration into art. We focused on the detail of the curl, the curve of the body, the angle of the face, and we added texture, depth, and soul. We connected with the models, our work, and each other. It was not just a ‘photo shoot,’ but a collaboration of artists adding to the gallery on the streets of Copenhagen.”



The Denmark Experience: Hygge Mode was more than just a free trip for the winners of RAFA 2017. It was a life changing experience that immersed them into foreign culture.  It was a time for them to grow together as coworkers, an opportunity to work with international hairdressers and models, and a chance for each individual to explore their passions and discover what inspires them in an uncharacteristically beautiful setting.

Kristen expressed that, “Winning this trip to Denmark was an amazing experience. Not only did we get to see the city, the history, and the architecture, but also we got to work with great stylists and designers from the Copenhagen area. My favorite part about the trip was being able to work with other Rocco’s employees that I didn’t really know before.”



Will It Be You?


As this trip illustrates, the talent, hard work, and pure passion that goes into creating the winning looks seen at the Rocco Altobelli Fashion Awards are rewarded in more ways than one.  But don’t take our word for it, listen to the winners themselves:

“This trip to Denmark has been incredible. We got to see a ton of sights, work with some of the best stylists in Denmark. … And on top of that, we got to sightsee and look at all the architecture. So, you really, really want to win the trip next year!”  Dylan Harrison-Raad

 “Thank you to the Altobelli family for such an amazing trip! … Everyone should win. Everyone should try to win because it is the most amazing thing [you’ll ever do].” Mickie Nightengale

“I can’t begin to express what gratitude I have for such an amazing trip of a lifetime. Keep reaching for the stars [because] dreams do come true. Thank you Rocco Altobelli Salons!!” Josie Schwarz

So, congratulations to the talented and deserving winners of RAFA 2017!  The question now remains: Who will be the next Kristen, Mickie, Dylan, or Josie?  Will it be you?  And what fairytale destination awaits? Stay tuned for more…