FARGO — Savoy Fog In The Morning once shaved a portrait of Sitting Bull into a customer's hair.

That was his all-time favorite hair design, he said. The runner-up was a dream catcher.

Fog In The Morning, a master barber, first picked up a pair of clippers in 1998 when he was 11 years old and started shaving his own hair. He took artistic inspiration for haircuts from his dad, who practiced painting and drawing.

"I fell in love with the artistic part of barbering," said Fog In The Morning, of the Standing Rock Sioux and Crow nations.

Savoy Fog In The Morning shaves a feather design into the side of Elijah Guang’s head on June 22 during the Trading at the Red River event held in the Civic Center in downtown Fargo. Meagan Deanne / The Forum
Savoy Fog In The Morning shaves a feather design into the side of Elijah Guang’s head on June 22 during the Trading at the Red River event held in the Civic Center in downtown Fargo. Meagan Deanne / The Forum

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Savoy Fog In The Morning, a master barber, takes artistic inspiration for haircuts from his dad, who practiced painting and drawing. Special to The Forum
Savoy Fog In The Morning, a master barber, takes artistic inspiration for haircuts from his dad, who practiced painting and drawing. Special to The Forum

In 2015, Fog In The Morning started Smooth Scalpers, a group of three barbers that travels to powwows across the Plains region to provide artistic haircuts, ranging from zigzags and feathers to portraits and NFL team symbols.

The group didn't need barber licenses to operate on reservations. But eventually Fog In The Morning wanted to expand, so he attended the Moler Barber College of Hair in Fargo and received his certificate in April 2017.

Now, the 31-year-old is planning to open a storefront in Bismarck with the name OAK 87. The shop, to be located in the Queen Salon Suites at 913 Burlington Drive, is set to open this month.

The store's name has its own significance. As an acronym, OAK has two meanings: "I want you to feel like Only A King, and it's One of A Kind," he said. Plus, the number '87 is the year he was born, and oak wood represents strength.

"Coming from a reservation, you face challenges," he said. "To overcome that and create a business ... the significance is important for generations to come."

Eventually, Fog In The Morning said he wants to open a school in order to show Indigenous people how to combine artistry, hair design and business, or to simply teach more artsy barbers interested in doing portraits or designs.

Artistic hair design is his gift, he said. "It's what I'm here for."

Readers can reach Native American issues reporter Natasha Rausch, a Report For America corps member, at 701-241-5528, nrausch@forumcomm.com or on Twitter @n_rausch21.