Suffering from a small dose of FOMO, Ian Harrold offers his own twist on our chef interviews
Who is the coolest barber in the world and why?
Paul Wilson of Art + Science. You could honestly put that guy in a bin bag and he’d still look slick. The fact that he’s based in Chicago does him a world of favours too. Something about that city just oozes class.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t do it! But seriously, I’d say brace yourself: It will be hard work, but it will also be fun. Also, try not to take anything seriously.
What’s your most cherished item of clothing?
I have almost 50 pairs of dress shoes if that counts! From Jeffery West to Churches, Loake to Grenson, you really can’t go wrong with British-made shoes. All paired with colourful socks. Plain socks are for dinner suits and funerals.
Which clothes brand do you wear most on the day to day?
There’s really something to be said for a bespoke suit. I get mine from Gieves & Hawkes. Everyone should try to go bespoke at least once. It’s both a learning experience and a lasting investment.
Four guests, past or present, who would you invite to a dinner party?
Oscar Wilde, Kate Moss, Jamie Oliver and, of course, my mum.
What’s one concern you have with your industry? How do you fix it?
There’s far too much hype around the idea of being famous, whatever that even means nowadays. Barbers need to ditch this obsession and get back to building strong foundations in technical ability. Barbering is a trade, after all. Get good, then think about getting famous.
What has been the biggest change in the service & hospitality sector over the last 5 years?
Social media has brought about huge changes in a barber’s visibility. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, though. If you filter it well enough, it will open the door to a global community. But it can also become quite insular if you’re not careful.
If you were not involved in barbering, what would you be doing instead?
I’d be a florist. No question. After all, you’ll never see anyone sad to see a flower. They will always put a smile on someone’s face.
Words by Ian HARROLD