Sharp Cuts: Charlie Price Launches Fashion West

Charlie Price is the founder of Fashion West.
Charlie Price is the founder of Fashion West. Charlie Price
Hairstylist Charlie Price isn’t afraid to mince words: Just look at his Instagram account. You'll see beautiful photos of hair and fashion, but also bold, sometimes cheeky, statements on social affairs. And he’s more than willing to tussle in the comments. That strong personality makes up his personal brand.

In a Zoom conversation with Westword, Price appears surprisingly laid-back, noting that he learned some hard lessons after appearing on the 2008 reality show Shear Genius, in which hairstylists competed to create looks under time and theme restrictions. He presented as cocky and brutally honest, often rubbing his competitors the wrong way.

“I created a persona that was like me on acid," Price says. "I got some negative feedback on that. It made me think about what it is that I do. What do I care about? What’s my philosophy? If you can’t define your brand, it’s a problem.”

Really, he just doesn’t want to be like everyone else, he says. And his résumé reflects that. He's a modern renaissance man, refusing to settle for just one discipline.

“I’m a person who needs to be creative,” he says. “I always wanted to be a famous artist, so I try to put that in everything I do.”

On top of reality-TV stardom, Price's credits to date include salon owner, global representative for major hair brands including Revlon Professional and Aveda, hairstyling platform artist and educator, magazine publisher and fashion-show creative director.

“I just love the variety, from the graphic design in putting together a magazine to picking out every detail of an outfit for a fashion show to doing hair and creating a look for a person," he says. "I like having something to look forward to."

His most recent endeavor is the upcoming two-night Fashion West show, highlighting hairstylists and fashion designers from the West. The idea came about during last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns, when most hairdressers were out of work. Price started having discussions with industry friends in other regions about doing a series of hair shows across the country called Hair Awards USA, which instantly gave him a project to focus on for the Southwest Hairstyling Awards show.

“I just thought, if I’m going to do a hair show, why not do a fashion show, too?” he says. “So now we’ll have a night for each.”
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A look from Charlie Price.
Chad Chisholm

Fashion West takes place on August 15 and 16 and includes the Southwest Hairstyling Awards. Finalists were recently announced, including hairstylists, hair colorists, Ebony, Latino and Asian hairstylists, avant-garde hairstylists, makeup artists and artistic teams. The evening will also include a hall of fame to honor other prominent contributors to the Denver fashion scene.

This isn’t Price’s first fashion rodeo. He worked on Denver Fashion Week, which started as the 303 Magazine Hair Show over twenty years ago, going from producer to creative director. He parted ways with the event last year because the hair show was cut from the festivities. He says he’s looking forward to expanding his own show beyond Denver to bring in designers from all over the western region. He instructed the designers and hairdressers to show only new designs, to add to the events' excitement.

After a year of lockdowns and restrictions, Price says the hairstylists are excited to show what they can do: “I know they need something to get them going after a hard year.” A hair show is also a good opportunity to let the stylists flex their creative muscles. “They don’t get a chance to do that very often," he points out. "I let them do their own vision. The hair shows are always anything goes.”

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Charlie Price loves bold design.
David Rossa

Denver has always been a place where artists and designers have created a scene for themselves, he points out.

“There’s always been this underground, whether it’s the music scene or a group of fashion designers," Price says. "I remember in the ’90s, there were fashion shows on the sidewalk, just really experimental. I see more people here now that are interested in fashion and more cool people running around Denver. I’m all for it!”

Denver and the fashion coming out of the western region will probably never compete with Paris or New York, he says, but he doesn't see that as a problem: “I don’t think that matters. There’s a casualness here. I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of that, and that’s okay. We’re not trying to be New York Fashion Week. There’s always that comparison, and I hate it. With Fashion West, it’s about celebrating the West and our point of view and rebellious spirit. We’re not trying to be anyone else but us.”

Along with the hair and fashion show, Price has produced Fashion West, a promotional magazine meant to showcase designers. He plans to continue putting out the magazine once a year, using the publishing chops he acquired at Beauty Underground, a magazine spotlighting hairdressers and their work that he has produced since 2013.

“I just find people on Instagram that I like and ask if I can put them in a magazine,” he says. “I want to do the same for designers from the West and bring them here to show their stuff. I want to create a home for them.”

While Price’s creative energy keeps him busy, he also wants to create a platform for other artists.

“I like giving people opportunities,” he says. “Sometimes it’s a leadership role for someone who didn’t think they could do it, or a creative job someone didn’t think anyone would ever give them. I like seeing where they blossom and encourage them.”
For now, Price is focused on the Fashion West shows, where he will surely be busy curating every detail.

“The shows are so much fun,” he beams. “It’s just so gratifying to see people on the runway and know all the work that went into it.”

Fashion West runs from 5 to 11 p.m., Sunday, August 15 (Hair Show) and Monday, August 16 (Fashion Show), at ReelWorks (formerly Exdo Event Center), 1399 35th Street, $30-$75,
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Kastle Waserman is a freelance contributor to Westword covering music and culture. Prior to Denver, she lived in Los Angeles and worked as a staff editor/reporter for the Los Angeles Times covering music, nightclubs, lifestyles and fashion. She’s been published in the New York Post, Women’s Wear Daily and Fodor’s Travel Books.
Contact: Kastle Waserman