It’s great to see the modern Barber scene happening in the new look Bangkok. This buzzing space is alive and well, and it’s great to see young kids respecting the trade and lining up inside the Barbershops for their individualised styles.
I had a great week getting around to many shops and talking with barbers at their level and finding out the needs of this market. Many young barbers have come from more of a hairdressing background, but they all seem to be enjoying where barber culture is heading. One barber who stood out was Smile Club Barbers at The MRT stop, next to Siam Square. This area is now full of western shopping centres, with every clothing brand you could imagine. The new age barber in Bangkok is cutting as many girls’ hair as guys. Many young girls are the customer base, and they look great with these styled cuts and they are dressing very corporate to go along with the look in suits and collared shirts.
I walked the back streets ’til I found a traditional old style barber, dusty and rustic, shoved in between a couple of established local food vendors selling all sorts of crazy street foods – things that I could not describe, on sticks over hot coals. The old barber was nearly as old as his two old Japanese chairs, that were very well kept considering their age. There were a few old guys just lurking around for a chat, drinking a local brewed glass of Kopi. I tried to ask a few key questions, but had to jump ship when he tried to lure me to the waiting chair. I was already groomed and did not like the look of the worn tools of the trade on the workbench, and the smell of the cafés beside the store was getting a bit overwhelming. If I was a bit more adventurous on the day, I would have been a keen punter. I could see that most traditional barbers were only offering short back and sides all the way round and was not much of a place to get a new look.
Story by Sean Edwards.