Can You Cut It?

Derbyshire Life - - Beauty - PHO­TOS: Phil Ainsworth

David Mar­ley chats to David Cle­mens, owner of David James in Duffield, and dis­cov­ers why in­creas­ing num­bers of men are for­sak­ing sa­lons and go­ing back to

tra­di­tional bar­bers for their hair­cuts

My good­ness, a visit to the bar­bers hasn’t half changed since I was a lad. Grow­ing up in a min­ing com­mu­nity in North­ern Eng­land in the 1980s there wasn’t much choice when a young man needed his mane trim­ming.

For­get Toni & Guy and Vi­dal Sas­soon, the only cut­ting op­tion in town was a furtive ex­cur­sion to the lo­cal back-al­ley sa­lon.

For the princely sum of 50p cus­tomers were treated to a mis­er­able climb up a dingy old stair­case that opened into a nico­tine-cream-stained cut­ting room full of ashen-faced pun­ters wait­ing pa­tiently to be scalped.

This was a bar­ber­ing back­wa­ter where the ‘Ford Model T’ ap­proach to hair­dress­ing was the only cut on of­fer – any style you wanted, as long as it was short at the back and the sides.

Thirty years on it ap­pears that trend-con­scious young men are de­mand­ing more from their hair­dresser. Mod­ern bar­ber­shops of­fer­ing be­spoke groom­ing ser­vices are on the rise, and in­creas­ingly be­com­ing a must-goto des­ti­na­tion when men want to keep their hair neat and tidy.

‘Men are more fash­ion-aware and ad­ven­tur­ous – they want to look the best they can,’ says David James Cle­mens, owner of the epony­mous David James com­pany in Duffield, near

Derby. ‘They seem hap­pier to spend their money on in­dulging them­selves and many have come to un­der­stand that vis­it­ing a bar­bers – rather than a sa­lon – is the best place for a hair cut.’

Stars from the world of film and sport con­tinue to set fash­ion trends – and in­creas­ingly this in­cludes hair styling and cut­ting. ‘A foot­baller or film star’s lat­est cut can send hun­dreds of young men rush­ing to the bar­bers so they can fol­low a par­tic­u­lar style – and this has sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­uted to the resur­gence of bar­ber­shops across Eng­land in the last 10 years,’ he ex­plains.

‘When I was grow­ing up most peo­ple only went to have their hair cut when they needed it do­ing,’ David says. ‘To­day, men come in for styling and trim­ming much more of­ten be­cause, to them, their hair is as im­por­tant a look as the clothes and shoes they wear. So it is of lit­tle sur­prise that men are more con­scious of how they ap­pear – and I think this will con­tinue to drive the suc­cess of the male groom­ing in­dus­try for many years to come.’

In re­cent years the rise in pop­u­lar­ity of retro-cuts from the 1950s, in­clud­ing short and shaved backs and sides with tex­tured tops, has meant that men need to visit the bar­bers more of­ten to main­tain the shape of the cut.

‘It is not un­com­mon for men to come and see us every week, with many spend­ing a good por­tion of their in­come on hair treat­ments and styling prod­ucts,’ ex­plains David.

Step­ping off the pave­ment of Duffield and into the ur­ban-chic of David James, it is not dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand why the mod­ern male bar­ber­shop is mak­ing such a big come­back on the high street. Styled to an in­dus­trial retro-ware­house ap­pear­ance, this mecca to bar­ber­ing is strik­ing, sleek, light and airy.

And the funky mu­si­cal tones com­ing from the sound sys­tem give it a slightly edgy vibe.

Here you will find enor­mous comfy bar­bers’ chairs, gleam­ing white wash­basins, bare pal­let tim­bers, and hand­craft­ed­wooden fur­ni­ture painted in tex­tured chalky palettes of grey and black tones. Hip ex­posed elec­tri­cal metal trunk­ing with

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