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Davie Walker, the best barber in Scotland?
Friday, May 6th, 2016
Barbering has taken off in the last few years.
This has paved the way for creative professionals to make their mark in the industry.
Davie Walker, of Davie The Barbers in Paisley, is one of these professionals and Defacto sat down with him for a chat.
How did you get into barbering?
“Started as a hairdressing cutting women’s hair. I trained to be hairdresser 18 years ago and then swapped to barbering 14 years ago. It happened by chance, I was working in meat factories and I used to cut my friends hair in their houses. It was a friend who encouraged me to train up. Back then barbering was just about the cut being quick and I wanted to try doing different and funky styles. Then David Beckham came on the scene and people started trying new hair and caring about how it looked.”
Why do you think barbering has taken off in the last few years?
“Culture change. We used to have a really bad Ned culture in Glasgow, so most boys would have the same hair and now they’re in Nandos with their chinos. In my time it was trackies. It’s just a new generation. It’s all about blow-drying and skin fading. It’s just that barbering has been dragged along with it. “
With state registration being implemented in an attempt to raise the quality of professionalism in the salon and barbering industry, we asked Davie how to know if you’re going to a good barber.
“Right now barbering’s in a jaunted place with state registration. That’s meant to be telling you if someone is a good barber, it’s meant to tell you if you’re going to a good place. I don’t think it can guarantee that so I suggest searching on social media. Facebook and Instagram. I got Instagram last year and my business has been booming since. The proof is in the pudding isn’t it?”
Since the take off of barbering a good few groups have sprung up. For example the Mens Hair Federation (MHFED), founded by Adam Sloan, was created to ‘To bring professional standards and recognition for qualified talented hairdressing services. Lobbying for the government in the UK to bring in professional standards in order to increase the industry reputation to ensure that all hairdressers and recognised as a professional industry.’ David has worked with the MHFED before, and will again, but he has the most involvement with The British Master Barbers and The Outlaw Barber Collective.
“British Master Barbers, I’m their Scottish Ambassador. They hold events and they’re about standards in barbering. The Outlaw Barber Collective is me, that’s my organisation. I’m trying to bring education and events to Scotland. We don’t actually get very much and I’m trying to change that. I’m bringing the best of barbering to Scotland. This morning I agreed to go to colleges and do free demos, to show people who are nervous about applying to the Rising Star Competition (A category in the Best of British Barbering event). I’m going to show them how to take the photos and that. We want to inspire the youth; it’s really all about the youth.”
Why are these groups being formed?
“The MHFED is also about education and Adam Sloan’s academy is about education. He does a lot of teaching. The Outlaw Barber Collective is for creating events with the MHFED. It’s all about changing the attitudes to barbering. Where salons had always been about the glitz and glam and barbering was for paupers. So yeah, it might not happen in the next 5 years but in the next 10 where all the people in colleges right now are working.”
The Best of British Barbering is an event set up to bring barbering talent to Scotland. There will be live demos, awards and, no doubt, a fair few students looking to pick up new tips and tricks. All the details about the event are in the flyer below and for further info and tickets you can look HERE. We asked Davie was the purpose of the event was to him.
“It’s about bringing up the best talent and showcasing their skills. Its about letting people meet their idols like Alan Findlay. When I met him I was smiling from ear to ear. I love teaching and I love going to colleges and doing demos. It’ll be good to see people like that on stage and give them a chance to show their work. I’m judging at it actually.”
Are you hoping to find new talent at the event through the competitions?
“It’s all about finding that diamond in the rough. I entered it last year and I got spotted through instagram, I didn’t even get to the final I just got spotted. I got to cut onstage alongside one of my idols Simon Shaw. To have your idol call you up and ask you to cut on stage with him, I couldn’t believe it. It’s to give other rising talent that chance. Its about getting out their and getting noticed.”
Who inspires you?
“Through my career one person who’s always been a major idol is Simon Shaw. I’m working with him again on Monday for a charity night (details on this will be at the bottom). He’s the top drawer and he’s been the biggest figure throughout my career. The first time I bought clippers his face was on the box.”
What do you think will be the next big trend in barbering?
“It changes. One minute it’s something like perms and then the next it’s something else. I think fringes are coming back in. the skin fade was in and then it was the taper cut. It really can change like the weather. All it takes is a film star or a footballer to change their hair. Although the era of the gentleman never goes out of fashion. I like styles like that a lot.”
If you won the lottery tomorrow, how would it change your life?
“I actually got asked this not that long ago and I said I would open a bigger shop. Sounds sad but that’s what I would do, I wouldn’t walk away from the trade. Even if I just done cuts for free. To walk away from the trade is to walk away from the clients. You get really close to your clients and you become a part of their routine. A lot of my customers talk to me on the phone or through social media. There’s rarely a day where I go without speaking to one of my regulars. I wouldn’t even leave Paisley; I get homesick as soon as I go. I think the missus would want to go though!”
Thank you to Davie for taking the time to speak to us. If you want to attend the charity event that Davie will be cutting at then HERE are the details. If you want to book an appointment with Davie, you can head on over to our listing site HERE.