By Kelly Burns

his year's Fashion Prize, one of the five creative competitions of Prize Fest, will take to the runway on Oct. 15. But behind the fabulously showcased fashion is another layer of artistry – the world of hair and makeup. Bryan Sullivan, master stylist and owner of Chemistry Hair Salon, and his creative team are the visionaries responsible for the amazing hair and makeup looks that help bring fashion and fantasy together.

For Bryan Sullivan, the magic of creating iconic looks lies in collaboration. “In the beginning, Agora Borealis would have a planning meeting where we met the designers in person to see their drawings and garments,” he said. However, as designers started hailing from different cities, especially during the pandemic, the mode of collaboration changed, but the essence remained. Through emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, sketches, photos, and swatches, the team channels their collective visions.

But how does Sullivan’s team decide on the look? It’s about authentically representing the collection, he said. “Each collection has its own theme, atmosphere, and personality. It’s our job to express the personality of a collection through hair and makeup.” And while the team is diligent about preparations, many decisions are spontaneous. “In the end, many decisions are made the day of the event on the scene, in the moment,” he added. “We prepare as much as we can and then dive in with open minds.”

While many designers have precise visions for makeup and hair, others provide the team with the mood and inspiration, allowing for creative exploration. “The main source of inspiration is the designer’s vision,” Sullivan said. “We may have looks inspired by the 1920s, a contemporary girl’s night on the town, space travel, vaudeville, and more. That’s the real joy of working on the show. It’s diverse, eclectic, and just plain fun.”

Bryan also emphasizes that while the team is inspired by the designers’ themes, they also focus on striking a balance. “We’re all professional working stylists. It’s our job to know what’s now and what’s next. We aim to be fashionably thematic without looking like a costume.”

In the world of fashion, events like Fashion Prize shine a light on the collaboration between designers and stylists. It’s not just about the designs on the runway but the combined artistry that brings them to life. Bryan Sullivan and his team at Chemistry Hair Salon work magic behind the stage, ensuring that every look tells a story.

For more information about all Prize Fest 2023 competition dates and events, visit