Take me to the Barbershop.

Good afternoon my luscious locked ladies and lotharios, 


One of my oldest friends from school, is a highly recognized and respected mens hairstylist/ barber based in the prestigious Mayfair area in London. I decided to pick his brain about key trends emerging in the hair industry and what we expect to see on the catwalks in 2015. I introduce to you James Quigley.



Keya – Hi James, so can you tell my readers the name of the hairdresser you work for and what is your day to day role?


James – The Salon I’m based in is called ‘The Barber Shop Mayfair’ which as  you can guess from the name is based in Mayfair, London. My role in the salon is as a barber/mens stylist. Much like most barber shops my job is to cut mens hair in the style they want; the only problem being, most men do not really know what they want style wise. Usually they find their style as a teenager, then stick with that look for most of their life, until they meet a girl (or guy) who loves them SO much that they decide they want to stay with them forever and change everything about them to mould them into the ‘perfect’ boyfriend/husband/father 😊 This can lead to an elaborate look that he finds is either too trendy, takes too much time to maintain or one he struggles to recreate at home, leading them to revert back to the style they first had at 15 years old that they feel safe and comfortable with, but usually in a tamer more work friendly version. My job is to help try and bring these styles up to date gradually whilst making it as easy as possible to recreate the look themselves in the comfort of their own home. 



Keya – I can completely relate to this. Most of us are so scared to try new styles we see on actors or celebrities, we need that little push from our hairdressers to help us achieve the look we covet but one that will suit our face shape and dress sense. So, what is your view on the “hipster” trend (big beards and longer hairstyles) – do you think it is a fad or will it go the distance?  


James – This is a very difficult question to answer as it really depends on where you live. Some of the more trendy and edgy areas (Shoreditch is one example) I would say the beard is here to stay a bit longer. Where I live in the north east of London, I have seen people with long beards for almost two years now. Some men have shaved them off and then grown them back as they missed them (men with beards will understand. The attachment to your beard is only rivalled by the love a mother has for her newborn, or the love you have for your favourite football team). In Mayfair the big beard is a rare sight,  groomed moustaches are more common, as are smaller beards and stubble. We get a lot of people from overseas in the salon and many of my clients tell me that beards are disappearing in America. Many celebrities are now starting to be clean shaven, with adverts frequently on TV advertising it as the new look, so at some point I think we will follow suit; depending on your postcode you can ride out the bearded look for the rest of this year I predict. If you are not in a hipster area however then it might be time to book an appointment for a shave before the summer to impress the lovely ladies overseas. The longer hairstyles are definitely here to stay, some people are starting to grow out the sides a bit more now and have blended, layered styles rather than a disconnected look, but long hair is here to stay for 2015.


Keya – Wow I honestly had no idea that the looks vary depending on what area you live in London, although I know from many of my ventures out in Shoreditch there have been some very well primped beards on display and some equally unruly hairstyles to match. On the subject of unusual, what is the strangest request for a hairstyle you have had to date?


James – About two years ago I helped out a friend in his salon in East London.  In my career to date, most of my clientele have been adults and young professionals, rather than young kids and babies, so it was a big shock to me when someone brought in their new born child (less than three weeks old) and wanted me to shave his head, luckily with mini trimmers and not a cut throat razor. I have since found out that this is a common thing among some cultures as they believe the child’s hair will grow back thicker because of this, but that was the only time I have had to shave the head of a newborn baby. 


Keya – I can imagine, that must have taken the expression “hold still” to another level for sure 😀 On the complete opposite end of the scale, what is your favourite style you like to do?


I love cutting hair with a parting, taking reference from photos of the World Wars and films from that era. The classic parting looks timelessly smart. This style has made a huge comeback in the past few years thanks to programmes like Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey. These shows have become such huge hits because they depict scenes of well dressed, groomed men in tailored suits with perfect hair.Despite these shows being set in that era, I do not feel it is a coincidence that the hair styles are still current and requested by the modern man today. The great thing for me about cutting hair with a parting is it changes every time from person to person depending on growth patterns, and how extreme the client is willing to go, whether it be a simple layered style that fits all occasions, to the football star wannabe where we can use the cut throat razor to make sure everyone can see the parting from the other side of the room.



Keya – Who wouldn’t want to portray the image of being a successful businessman whatever the time period hey. so, James, you are a well travelled guy, where  would you say is the most forward thinking city you have visited and are there some countries where a new hairstyle has been created and then the rest of the world swiftly followed suit?


James – It sounds like I am being biased but I honestly think that London is the place to be for new hair trends, purely because in each borough in the City from West to East London – Fashion, Food and hair changes SO dramatically that you can feel like you are in a different country sometimes from one place to the next. In Hong Kong, there are some truly ‘out there’ styles being attempted, but I do not think the rest of the world is ready to follow suit just yet. I love London because the diversity and variety of people from around the world living here creates a fusion of styles that most of the world can relate to (except the curtains hairstyle circa 1990, looking back no-one looked better with the curtains haircut 😀)


(Photo courtesy of Google images)


Keya – I would have to agree with you entirely (also being a London lady) that we are so lucky to have access to the latest styles emerging from all around the world as soon as it hits the runway or streets. Obviously as you are in the industry, you must get advanced insider knowledge though, how are you made aware of new trends emerging in the hair industry?


James – I would say the best way of keeping up with new trends is through looking at celebrities and people in the public eye. If pop stars and athletes are doing something new with their hair then it’s only a matter of time before kids and adults start to experiment with their own looks. I also spent most of last year working an extra day a week in a high street barber shop, the type almost everyone has at the bottom of the road that is packed on a Saturday and empty the rest of the week. I found that new styles start in these shops as teenagers can ask the barber to create an elaborate style that may or may not work without being worried about taking too long or upsetting the barber when they then decide they do not like it and it has to be redone. 



Keya – one thing I have definitely noticed in particular, footballers really are not afraid to try some really outlandish styles and colours. I am sure a lot of the readers can remember back to the days of David Beckham and his array of hairstyles from the Mohawk to his Alice band wearing days. His hair sometimes took up more column inches than his sporting achievements! For your usual business professional clientele however say for example a man who works in the Corporate sector, what attributes do you consider before doing some of the more cutting edge, riskier styles? 


James – This is a massive factor where I work. A lot of my regulars work in top end hotels and restaurants who have constant interaction with Corporate Management and customers. These establishments are very strict on what type of haircuts the staff can have. I have had people asking me to do them a hot towel shave because they have two days worth of stubble and work sent them home, or others who have had undercut hair styles and needed to get it fixed ( the latter is much more difficult to change) 

The main questions I ask a new client wanting to change a style are:-


 1) How strict is their work place and do they have a lot of face to face interaction with their customers?


2) How much time do they spend or are willing to spend styling their hair? There is no point creating a style that takes ten minutes for a professional to blow dry and style perfectly when my client just wants to be able to get up, shower, get dressed and go without needing to faff over his hair.


3) I finally find out if they like to use product in their hair or not? Again, there is no point in creating a style that requires product to maintain the look if 90% of the time the client does not use any. 


I want to make sure the client can re-create the look as good as, if not better than I have for them. The better they look the next day or the weekend after the cut, the happier he is and the better a stylist I appear.


Keya – Those really are some great pointers, I know I have been guilty in the past of trying a hairstyle which looked amazing when I walked out the salon but then i quickly realised I did not have the time or inclination to maintain it . It is definitely a case of pick a style which complements your life, not make it more stress filled. Case in point, when I bleached my hair during my hair modelling days.




One final question, what do you think the “in” cut will be for 2015?


James – I think the looks for 2015 will be either very short on the sides, and the longer on top, swept back,over to one side styles are still  ‘in’ this year. I think we will start to see the shaved in partings disappear,replaced by a more softer look whilst still keeping the undercut.


Keya – Thank you so much for doing this interview James, I really feel like I, and hopefully my readers have learnt some great tips about the world of hair dressing. I can certainly vouch for your amazing skill on any individual in your chair, and if any of my readers are in London, I would highly recommend the Barber Shop for all your hair dressing needs 🙂  


Until next week, take care Keya x 


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