Published on June 18th, 2012 | by thevyne1
The Beauty Movement: A Chat with VSN’s Michel Thomas
By Vyne Contributor Allison Gordon
Vyne contributor’s Allison Gordon recently sat down with France native, Michel Thomas, who shares beauty and fashion insights from his 20+ years of experience traveling the world with his company Vision Style Network. Read what he’s observed about women, beauty and the industry:
VYNE WORLD: Vision Style Network (VSN) is the #1 Beauty Channel for beauty and fashion brands and professionals. What else best describes VSN?
MICHELE THOMAS: We cover beauty from the inside. Our clients are the beauty makers, salon owners, make-up artists and beauty companies. We report from a professional perspective, an insiders’ perspective.
VYNE WORLD: Michel, how did you get involved in the beauty industry?
MICHELE THOMAS: I started by selling advertising posters and magazines to salons. My sales partner and I went to African American salons and saw an opportunity to better address the African American community. Salon owners used the magazines as a visual piece, and looked to it for inspiration. Then there was an evolution from print to different mediums like television. This insight led to Vision Style Network.
VYNE WORLD: What have you noticed among corporate brands marketing to women of color? What’s been successful?
MICHELE THOMAS: The smaller the company the more focused they should be. For example, the small French cosmetic company, Black Up, geared specifically for African American woman, began with specific branding and by virtue of smart messaging they captured the attention of all woman of color, not just the African American market. I would tell brands to not water down messaging when speaking to the community… just be top notch.
VYNE WORLD: You’ve seen a lot in the beauty and fashion world. Do you have any beauty trend insights for 2013?
MICHELE THOMAS: On the consumer side, there will be less adding hair. On the product side, product lines that address different stages of growth and are geared toward nourishment will be lucrative. Make up, skin care and hair product lines that are non-toxic and organic will continue to be important.
VYNE WORLD: Does Paris remain the number one go-to city for beauty?
MICHELE THOMAS: Actually, London! They push the envelope. Hair in London, for example, has a tendency to be totally outrageous. In France, hair is not the first beauty criteria. Women wear what they have, but they wear it well.
VYNE WORLD: What about fashion in general?
MICHELE THOMAS: Fashion and beauty trends come from various regions of the world. I believe true fashion comes from Africa, a continent that is so raw and sophisticated.
VYNE WORLD: What have you seen globally among woman of color regarding beauty and fashion?
MICHELE THOMAS: That is just it, global brands dominate the worldwide market . When it comes to hair European women seem more committed to healthy hair than trendy hair. In the US many African American women suffer from damaged hair by the time they reach 30 or 40 in age. There is now a stronger push and awareness towards a healthier state of hair.
VYNE WORLD: What’s your most powerful observation about hair?
MICHELE THOMAS: I agree with insights from the documentary Good Hair. The fact is many [African American] women have veered far away from their natural hair texture trying to create new looks. The reality is men want to touch their women’s hair once in a while if not often. Not doing so creates a wedge and a lack of closeness within the relationship.
VYNE WORLD: So you think women should wear their hair more naturally?
MICHELE THOMAS: I respect a movement toward more natural hair. To me, it’s a sense of self worth. And by virtue, if there is a proud demeanor, it will fuel inspiration and trend.
VYNE WORLD: What is your definition of beauty?
MICHELE THOMAS: Confidence transcends image. That is sexy and beautiful.