Fashion week Perspective: Backstage with INIKA Organic Cosmetics


Cosmetics are as big a part of Fashion Week as is the couture. The Vivant caught up with Regis Haberkorn, president of INIKA, just after the spectacular Tadashi Shoji runway show. As one of the show’s sponsors, Regis gave us a first-hand look at the behind-the-scenes makeup process, and why certified organic cosmetics are gaining popularity in fashion circles.

Tadashi Shoji’s runway show was a high point of the day. Of special note was the incredible glitter eye shadow worn by every model. Beautiful!

The brand, created just 12 years ago, was the first makeup ever to be healthy, and free of harmful chemicals, long before it became a trend. According to Regis, the products are certified organic, certified vegan, and certified cruelty free – something that doesn’t happen very often in the makeup world. Regis says “We have created the healthiest makeup you can get, and there is no compromise on quality.” Already gaining dozens of awards, their vegan mascara was named by Glamour Magazine as best mascara in their 2018 “Best natural beauty products” review. They are already the leader in organic makeup in Australia, and they are already gaining ground in the US market, and of course, they have a healthy online business as well.

INIKA (which means “little earth”) is poised to continue its growth in the US, especially as California just last week passed new legislation requiring all cosmetics and beauty products to be free from animal testing.

Fashion week has so much energy. The Tadashi Shoji runway show, of which you were a sponsor, just ended moments ago. What has been your favorite part of fashion week?

The most exciting part isn’t necessarily the show, which is obviously beautiful and well organized. It’s as well-oiled machine and lots of energy. But I think the preparation is truly the most exciting. There is one day where the makeup artists discover all of the elements of the line, and test the makeup to try to accomplish the look the designer intended, and it was extremely rewarding to see experienced, renowned makeup artists using a line of makeup that is organic and vegan. We’re doing a couple shows this year, and that’s only the beginning, we will probably do more next year. The purpose is to really show the world, the influencers, the users, the buyers, that you can be the healthiest, but you can also perform as well as any premium mainstream brand. We also added an element of glitter which everyone embraced, and we had 18 models and 18 makeup artists. They all embraced the products, and they’re all taking product away with them. To me, this is the way to go – you can embrace a healthy lifestyle, without compromising your look and quality. We can do that. There is absolutely no limitation as to what you can do.

The first time you see a runway show you think about the couture, but maybe not as much about the makeup that goes on behind the scenes. But it’s still a very important part of the runway model’s presentation. How important is the makeup and cosmetics in that entire presentation as they get put together before coming out onto the runway?

When you see the amount of time and energy put in by the designers and the brands and the artists, whether they are hairdressers or makeup artists, you realize the true breadth of the show. A lot of people are coming to learn new trends and get inspiration. I’ve been backstage at the fashion shows and red carpets, and it’s always a big part of our industry across the globe, in Paris, Milan, New York, and Shanghai. It’s big. The first thing you want to do is make sure the hair and skin are perfect, because you don’t want to be distracted.

What stood out right away for me as I watched the models come out onto the runway was the eye treatment, with that incredibly elaborate glittery treatment. It really stood out. Was that glitter appearance part of Inika’s product as well?

We don’t make  glitters like that, but our team in Australia was able to source biodegradable glitters and brought them onto the show. The inspiration for the show was ‘galaxy,’ and we worked together at making that happen, and we did that by adding those biodegradable glitters we sourced in Australia. It was very interesting to see how we could incorporate glitters into our look using natural products. It worked, and it was great. I loved it.

You’re sponsoring two shows this week, besides Tadashi Shoji you’re also sponsoring House of Nonie on Sunday. How did you choose those two shows in particular to sponsor?

We’ve been in contact with a lot of shows, but we chose them because the designers were striving to improve the practice in our industry. INIKA was a good match. You need to find designers who are committed to the organics, and willing to take the risk of stepping away from the big makeup brands that they were using for years before.

Do you have plans to go to Paris and Milan for the next round of shows?

We’re talking about it, and talking to some designers in London also. We enjoy doing it, and the people in our Australian headquarters are extremely proud of being part of that aspect of the industry. That’s the ultimate level, to be able to organize a large-scale show in a short period of time. We signed up for this show only three or four weeks ago. It was something really great, for the brand to show the world that we can be a part of the fashion industry and bring something unique, which is our ability to be healthier than the others.

(Photo images by John Castillo)

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