Selvedge Barbers serves up haircuts with healthy side-servings of machismo that will leave you feeling alive, invigorated, and more handsome than ever
We folks here at Honeycombers Hong Kong are a stylish bunch and we understand the importance of looking good. We’ve already rounded up our fave Korean makeup products, explored vegan skincare, and we’ve delved into the world of men’s grooming on many occasions. However, you can never know too much, and during a recent haircut session at Selvedge Barbers we had our minds opened and our cranium styled in ways we never thought possible.
Setting the Stage
Like a visit to an exclusive restaurant, you definitely need an appointment before you turn up at Selvedge Barbers, but once in you can be sure you’ll be treated like a celebrated celebrity. As I arrive I’m greeted by a guy whose moniker makes him sound like a superhero, Roger Ryan. He resembles a sexy Jesus, and also sounds kind of prophetic when he talks (“the ground… is where the hair always ends up!”)
As I take a seat, my barber Hamish Glianos instantly offers me a beverage – “How about an espresso or a whiskey to start, mate?” I opt for the whiskey and as soon as the liquid gold starts to warm the lining of my stomach I know my hair is in for a treat – this is definitely not your average hair joint. It only takes him a few seconds to gauge the best direction for the cut, and he’s instantly able to understand the texture and condition of my hair.
Hamish was previously the hair director for Australian Idol, Australia’s Next Top Model and MTV Awards, but his modesty and casual demeanor hides all this. In fact, all of the team at Selvedge are like natural born rockstars, each with a unique personality and different approach to barbering.
The individuality is precisely what makes Selvedge Barbers stand out from others in the market, and this distinctive vibe permeates the whole concept. From the interior décor to the products used, this is a place that shuns superfluous extravagance – you don’t come here for pampering or to get your hair dyed or permed. But this is not to say any less thought has gone into it. In fact it’s the exact opposite – these hair connoisseurs are trained artisans who care about their craft and know their tools. “We all have our own style and equipment. Like chefs who have their favourite knives, everyone has their own personal scissors here,” says Ryan, the shaggy Christian Bale lookalike.
Denim and Leather
In the 1986 movie Little Shop of Horrors the comedian Steve Martin plays a scene-stealing sadistic leather-jacketed motorbike-riding dentist decked out in modish Marlon Brando-esque attire. The stylish jeans he wears in the film would technically be known as selvedge denim jeans, woven using old-fashioned weaving techniques. These would have also been sported by the likes of James Dean, Elvis Presley and true-blue Wild West cowboys.
This is the legacy on which Selvedge Barbers in Hong Kong has been built on. It’s a friendly barber shop offering personalised, long-lasting no-frills cuts with a rugged interior and a philosophy that’s nonchalantly raw around edges, much like Steve Martin’s character and his slick hairdo in Little Shop of Horrors.
Like the era in which the film is set, Selvedge is a contemporary remix of 1960s barbers. Although they’ve only been opened as a Selvedge flagship for a few months, they were operating in the same location since 2014 under a different name, Era Barbers. There has been a paradigm shift amongst men and their attitudes to grooming in the last decade, and Era was a reaction to this movement, which has picked up steam of late. Female customers are of course accepted in these barbershops too, but since most only offer barbered cuts, long hair is usually out of the question.
Era was one of the pioneers of the urban barbershop movement in Hong Kong, but when the industry took off and the competition intensified they had to innovate and lift their game. Taking a slightly less retro and more accessible approach, Selvedge Barbers is the physical corollary of this, a postmodern barbershop for the ages.
Making the Cut
When Hamish is done with my hair and a light trim on my goatee, I’m a changed man. However, it wasn’t the cut that changed me (although the completed coiffure was refined and slick as ever). I was transformed because my perception of barbering and grooming had been rebooted.
A session at Selvedge Barbers is experiential and fun. With a raw industrial vibe and a great mix of music (while I was there the soundtrack went from blues to drum’n’bass to hip hop), the interior exudes effortless informality. The relaxed environment is fun to be in and the dudes really know their trade. It’s like a coffee shop but for hair, and I will definitely be going back for another fix soon.
Selvedge Barbers, 38 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong, p. 2577 3080, 中環砵典乍街36號