Each year, American Crew hosts the All-Star Challenge in search of the next hair styling star. Top barbers and stylists from around the world are called to create a look that is the ultimate contemporary interpretation and expression of American Crew style. American Crew’s founder David Raccuglia sat down with us to chat about this year’s competition, what it takes to stand out and the one piece of advice he’d offer to entrants.
Tell us about the All-Star Challenge. How did it come to fruition? The All-Star Challenge morphed out of an amazing competition that American Crew Australia used to do called Face Off. It was similar to the format of the All-Star Challenge in years’ past (i.e. create a look that embodied your interpretation of the ultimate American Crew man that took into consideration the latest and greatest in men’s trends) in that the winner of the competition would be flown to Los Angeles, there’d be a huge celebration, and editorial shoot at Milk Studios to document their winning look. We loved how this contest format celebrated the art and mastery of these barbers so much that we made it a global contest.
What makes this year’s competition different than year’s past? For ASC 2020, we’re broadening the categories that we’re looking to showcase and crowning five winners instead of one. We really want to see professionals that are able to combine art, style, and technique in a diverse range of competencies including barbering, texture, length and retro.
Plus, we’re bringing all five winners to Los Angeles. In collaboration with myself, a wardrobe stylist, American Crew Global Education Manager, Phoenix Thomson, and Global Artistic Director, Paul Wilson, we’re going to create a full-blown American Crew editorial campaign based on the five 2020 All-Star Challenge winners. We wanted to create a moment where these winners aren’t competitors but colleagues, comrades, and collaborators, for and with, American Crew.
When it comes to judging, what are a few key elements that really stand out to you? Technical excellence and mastery of their craft and some sort of artistic interpretation where the photo stands out (the right angle, the right shine, etc.) all translated through one, two-dimensional image. But again, this year, it’s not just about barbering and a classic look, there are so many areas where someone can win, and in more categories than ever before.
You’ve been doing this for many years. How has the competition evolved to reflect the current state of the barbering/grooming industry? By picking 5 winners, we’re honoring the ever-evolving men’s grooming category with the diversity of hair texture, length, style, and so on. With the refreshed format, we aim to give more stylists and barbers the opportunity to display their amazing skillsets.
If you could offer any words of advice to this year’s entrants, what would you say? Present a look that is your specialty. It’s not exactly a time to experiment but more so an opportunity to showcase mastery at your specific craft or style.
For more information on American Crew and the All-Star Challenge, click here.