Historically, the barber shop has been known not only as a place for grooming, but as a cultural and social hub where men could gather to experience a certain type of brotherhood. So when Blind Barber opened in New York City’s East Village neighborhood in 2010, offering a cocktail with every cut, it brought a sense of community back into men’s grooming. When the Los Angeles location opened in spring 2012, it was evidence men were yearning for a renaissance of the dapper lifestyle. A return to the “Roaring Twenties,” Blind Barber inspires a creative movement that is redefining modern manhood in all facets of culture, be it fashion, music or the sprucing itself. Inspired by this return to tradition, we caught up with head barber Rob McMillen to talk about the revival of the barbershop, current men’s hair trends and how Blind Barber is redefining modern manhood one cut at a time.
It felt like the 90s grunge trend left many men lost in the world of grooming, but shops like Blind Barber have become very popular in recent years. What cultural motivations do you think men have to return to this idea of being well groomed?
Heritage and nostalgia have placed men in a position to view grooming as tradition rather than work. Culturally speaking, we see men who recall the practice and routine of their fathers and grandfathers. The level of respect they carry for such men has led many of them to adopt their own routines.
Is there a specific haircut men ask for the most, be it a certain style or even celebrity they want to emulate?
We receive a number of looks in both of our locations, but we focus mostly on a man leaving with confidence regardless of any style or trend. Confidence is always in style, and it is the most important factor to any look. Of course the idea of “short on the sides, long on the top” has been viewed as a trend, but many styles have emulated that for decades. Our goal is not to adhere to or create trends but provide the right look for every guy.
Facial hair never goes out of style, but you’re seeing more young men rocking it these days. To maintain, how often do you recommend clients come in for a trim?
Growing and maintaining facial hair can be a daunting task for many guys. Whether we see clients weekly or monthly, we do our best to set guidelines they can follow in their routines at home. Normally, once a client visits for a beard trim or shave, he leaves with knowledge on how to maintain the look regardless of when his next visit may be.
Blind Barber is known for giving you a cut, shave and cocktail all in the same visit, but it goes beyond that to the idea of redefining modern manhood. Who is that modern man to you and the team at BB? What sets him apart from the dude who will just walk into any old barbershop solely out of necessity?
Our “modern man” is very diverse. He can work in the blue or white collar world, but his motivation to be a gentleman is the same. Men come to our shop because they understand that success both personally and professionally come from hard work and attention to detail, which is what we strive for in all of the services we provide.
To learn more about Blind Barber and shop their line of grooming products, visit blindbarber.com.