The haircutting business has always been more than merely providing a haircut to make one look neat or stylish. In the early ancestral times, religious leaders also acted as barbers, as people used to believe that bad spirits could enter one’s body through the head and hair. Barbershops have since evolved and are upping their game.
Fast forward to the 1880s until 1940s, barbershops practically functioned as hang out places much like bars. The practice almost disappeared when Gillette’s razors became preferable for its practicality, especially in the 1980s when unisex outlets replaced many of the all-male barbershops.
In the 21st century, barbershops re-emerged. In the recent years, partly thanks to hipster culture, barbershops grew in number and the interior designs became an important part of it. Vintage, and later industrial interior design was applied in many barbershops, including in big cities of Indonesia. Nowadays, not only does choosing a barbershop depend on the skills of the barbers, but there are also other things that customers take into considerations. These include how updated the barbers are on the hairstyle trend as men become more aware of their look, how comfortable the place is, and how many types of treatment customers can get in one package.
On a heartwarming note, there was a research conducted by The Lions’ Barber Collective and The Bluebeards Revenge showing that barbershops in the UK are the place for men to unload their mental burdens simply by talking to the barbers. In a society where men are expected to bottle up their emotions and are difficult to talk about private matters, this kind of interaction helps to release their stress from the hustle and bustle of their everyday life.
The role of a barbershop as a hangout place is also not something new in the US. Since the 19th century, specifically for the African Americans, barbershops have had an informal role as a place for men to talk about important issues of their community. They hang out in barbershops whether they are getting a haircut or not, as there are spots where they can play chess, cards or just sit and talk about politics, local gossip and whatnot.
Here in Indonesia, more and more barbershops have started to up their game with more thorough services, complete facilities and pay more attention to the interior and façade design. This trend has turned barbershops to become more stylish and cosier for customers.