Field Trip! (part 2)

Field Trip 2: Shoreditch Boogaloo

The UK is chock full of barber shops, from the tiny and obscure to shops that border on legendary. There are established chains (Murdock in London), world-reknowned one-offs (Savills in Sheffield, Ruger Barber in Oldham), and smaller shops galore.

Whatever your personal vibe— be it old school, rock n roll, traditional Turkish, mod, avant garde, etc.— they’ve got something just right for you.

The Nomad Barber
A new-ish shop that has captured the imagination as of late is Nomad Barber. Nomad is both 1) a physical shop in London, just off of Brick Lane, and 2) the nom de plume of one Miguel Gutierrez, who spent a year traveling around the globe visiting regional barbers and practicing the craft himself in innumerable exotic locales (check his Instagram account, it’s siiiiiiiick!).

Miguel eventually returned to London and opened up a shop in almost-too-trendy Shoreditch.

Danish Daniel and I have been talking about making the trek to Nomad Barber’s shop and seeing what all the fuss is about. So one day after barber school, we caught a bus to gentrificationville and set out to find The Nomad.

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FOUND: The Nomad Barber

We got there around 5:30 or 6pm and the shop was bustling. There were 3 barber chairs, all filled, and 3 barbers snipping away.

Miguel/“The Nomad Barber” himself wasn’t there but the dude he opened shop with was, and that guy was super friendly (though I feel incredibly rude right now because I forgot to ask his name. Bad Tita!). He chatted us up for a bit, and so we learned that he is originally from Birmingham, where he started barbering. He and Miguel opened Nomad together about 15 months ago, and it was a smashing success from day 1.

They are currently working on expanding to a 2nd Nomad shop, this time in Berlin, which will hopefully open its doors in early April. All 3 barbers were busy working on clients but so friendly and welcoming; we left because we didn’t want to be a nuisance, but they were all SO nice.

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On our way out we decided to do a drive-by on two other nearby shops.

Jack The Clipper
Located ON Brick Lane, and I assume the name is meant to appeal to tourists, which would be helpful for garnering extra walk-in traffic. It looked like a more traditionally Turkish-style shop, but we didn’t stop inside so I’m just extrapolating based on what I observed through the window.

 

Bucks
I’ve passed Bucks a bunch of times, as it’s on Kingsland Road, which is a main artery for people moving North-South between Shoreditch, Hoxton, Dalston and Stoke Newington (i.e. ME). I always see at least one female barber working inside, and word on the street is that Bucks is actually owned by a lady barber, so it’s already got mad street cred with me!

When we stopped by it was far too packed inside for us to pop in— there were 5 or 6 barber chairs, all filled, plus the waiting area was teeming too. I made a mental list to stop by some other time when it looks a little calmer, but it was cool to peek through the window and see all the barbers in action.

 

Field Trip!

Fellow student Danish Daniel and I decided to make a pilgrimage to Nice One barber shop in Chingford—which is WAY East London—because our benevolent barber school overlord Papi hails from there.

Papi’s grandparents from Greece established a barber shop here in 1969; his father runs the shop to this day, and 3rd generation barber Papi works there every now and again, as do two of his cousins.

Though on this particular Saturday, Papi was supposed to be in Newcastle at a football match—he ended up covering for one of the cousins instead, so his football (soccer!) dreams were thwarted :/

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So close, yet so far away

On my way to Liverpool station, I stumbled across one of the Lumiere London 2016 installations. I’m a sucker for neon lights, so I had to step inside and take a gander at the pretty sparkly art for a moment before hopping on an overground train to Chingford.

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Right off the train, my first impression is that Chingford is tiny and adorbs. Just outside the overground station gates, there are sandwich board signs for a quaint Tudor-style barbershop. Pretty sure Hobbits gets their beards and feet hair trimmed here. We didn’t go into this little shop, however, as it wasn’t the priority.

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Hobbit shaving station

 

A short bus ride later, we arrived at Nice One. The shop is located on a bustling main street, with plenty of foot, bus and car traffic. The interior is cozy and simple: 3 barber stations, comfortable bench seating along 2 sides of the shop for customers to chill on while they wait their turn in the chair, plenty of reading material.

It was pretty packed when we got there, so we didn’t want to take up too much time/space. In the short time we lurked there, we learned an interesting fact.

INTERESTING FACT: Traditionally, barber shop sinks are placed in front of the chair, and clients simply lean forward to rinse their heads before or during the cut.

In more “modern” shops, the sinks are built for leaning backward into—apparently that positioning is borrowed from lady’s hair salons, and meant for working with longer hair. With short (men’s) hair, leaning forward into a sink gets the job done without the client needing to move to a separate hair wash station. #themoreyouknow

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