Photos: Behind the scenes and on the runway of American Crew's All-Star Challenge

It was a battle of the bold in Denver on Sunday, November 3, when American Crew 2013's opening night featured the announcement of the U.S and Canadian All-Star Challenge winners, narrowed down to six hairstylists from hundreds of competitors. The hairstylists displayed their talents at a men's-only show that highlighted the worldwide debut of "The Independent," the company's 2014 collection. Forty models saluting men from all walks of life strutted the runway during the year's biggest celebration of men's hair styling before an audience of almost 500. Keep reading to see candid backstage moments and view the talent on the runway.

See also: Photos: On the men's fashion runway of the 2012 American Crew Face Off

The models receive last-minute touch-ups before they hit the runway. This is the "Ground Crew" look that takes cues from the laborers at airports; the models were styled with neon gear and light cones as they walked the runway. The aroma of hairspray filled the backstage area as the models and hairstylists worked rapidly to get the perfect hairstyle. "Please, no gum, no phones, nothing in your pockets at all," an assistant instructed the models. Although we didn't know it then, this is the winner of the All-Star Challenge: Bradford Davison, in action, sculpting a winning hairstyle on a model before he hits the stage.

Go to page two to see the looks on the runway!

This is "The Independent" look, American Crew's nod to the modern man who takes inspiration from the past for his daily grind. "The Independent" is an experimental groomer who can part his hair to the side or have a slicked-back style that is simultaneously retro and modern. These looks are from the segment titled "Crewathon," which references American Crew's 1994 "visor cut" -- a high taper cut with a big bang or visor cut in front. The hairstyle can be dramatic if the front visor hair is sculpted tall. These are the All-Star Challenge finalists on stage following the show, waiting to see who will be crowned the winner of American Crew 2013's opening night. It was ultimately Bradford Davidson, who has a background in barbering and cosmetology, who will represent the U.S. and go on to compete in American Crew's global competition in April 2014.

"Over the years, I have geared my career toward men's grooming," said Davison. "The men's hair world provides a creative yet practical platform for me. By winning this challenge, I have proven to myself anything is possible if you try. I hope to inspire others to push the limits of their dreams and achieve a life they desire."

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Mauricio Octavio Rocha graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in English writing and a minor in cinema studies; He has been writing about fashion and style for Westword since 2012. Rocha also writes songs for his music and art project, VULGAR FEVER.
Contact: Mauricio Rocha