Self-proclaimed as the #worldsluckiestbarber, Matty Conrad (@mattyconrad) recently traveled to Japan and Ireland to check out the barber scene and culture. Here’s what the Victory Barber & Brand founder discovered in two of the world’s barbering hotspots.
Mr. Brothers Cut Club in Tokyo
Barbering culture is just starting to take off in Japan, which is surprising because they’re usually quite far ahead of the curve in terms of style and art. Faded pompadours are very popular, as are classic side-parted styles. Many guys are still perming their hair—it’s offered in every barbershop—because many styles are hard to achieve on coarse, straight hair. But there’s a new rockabilly movement starting to take hold in a few shops that have built up international attention, like Apache Barbershop and Mr. Brothers Cut Club. The Japanese business model seems to be pretty consistent with the North American model, with the only noticeable difference being the presence of colors and perms.
Sam’s Barbers in Dublin
The Irish barber scene is growing global acclaim because of its precision fades and more aggressive styles like crops and carvings. Irish barbering has a strong focus on traditional services, but with a modern twist. Barbering in Ireland never really faded away, so there’s a lot of tradition to pull from. Many barbershops have a long history and it’s not uncommon to find shops like Sam’s Barbers, which has been a family business for generations.
One thing I noticed is that a number of Dublin shops are opening up as discount barbers, where the quality is not exactly exemplary, but the price is dirt cheap. This creates a lower overall value for men’s haircuts and that’s reflected in the price structure. Luckily, there are still a number of places focused on quality service.