News, music, movies & restaurants from the editors of the Silicon Valley's #1 weekly newspaper.
Serving San Jose, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Fremont & nearby cities.


home | metro silicon valley index | columns | style


Photograph by Felipe Buitrago
SHEAR GENIUS: Paulo Candido,owner of Ego Mechanix Hair Salon, gives a technical hair cutting demo as part of SSFA's 'Motivational Mondays' series.

Salon Society

Sophisto Society for the Fashion Arts hosted its first evening with guest stylist Paulo Candido

By Jessica Fromm

WHEN MOST people think of serious art, they don't think of shears, blow dryers and styling mousse. That's exactly what Angel Llewellyn, director of the Sophisto Society for the Fashion Arts (SSFA), is trying to change. To Llewellyn and the many South Bay stylists and artists involved in SSFA, hairstyling is the ultimate in personal artistry.

Opened two months ago, the SSFA is an innovative collective of hair stylists, makeup artists, nail designers, piercers and other members of the local image industry who collaborate every week to network and share ideas. "I saw salon culture diminish since the '80s. The artistry in our category diminished. So, I felt like we needed to start something, to start it back," says Llewellyn. "What I'm trying to feature here is stylists, I'm creating a venue for stylists, and I want to draw them in in a positive way."

By sponsoring educational hair shows at SSFA's headquarters off of West San Carlos Street, Llewellyn hopes to inspire a Warhol factory sort of environment where San Jose's stylists and artists can come together to share ideas, techniques and approaches. "It's not everywhere you can bring in artists and go ahead and ask them questions. You can't walk into somebody's salon and be like "Hey!" and start chumming it up, yet alone most hair dressers don't hang out with each other now," says Llewellyn.

Llewellyn held her first big event at SSFA on June 8. It was an interactive technical hair-cutting show hosted by local celebrity stylist Paulo Candido, a former contestant or Bravo's reality TV show Shear Genius and owner of San Jose's Ego Mechanix Hair Salon.

Part of SSFA's now ongoing "Motivational Mondays" series, more than 40 South Bay salon owners and stylists attended the show to watch the ever charismatic Candido show off a haircutting technique called "Beyond the Fringe." At the show, Candido was quite the showman, demonstrating the unconventional approach to hairstyling that made him famous while spewing out jokes and answering questions at a rapid-fire rate.

Candido, who has known Llewellyn in the San Jose salon scene for years, said that he leapt at the chance to participate in SSFA. "I want people to know about this whole environment we're creating here, this whole network of hairdressers," says Candido. "It's like a little tiny hair show setup. So, we don't have to wait for those two to three times a year where it's in New York or L.A. or wherever. We can have that show right here in San Jose with people we know and trust and respect. We can pull together, and exchange ideas, and feed off each other and inspire each other. It's a really great thing that we're starting."

For more information on Sophisto Society for the Fashion Arts , visit

Send a letter to the editor about this story.