Old-school barbershops are back! Denver barbershops have experienced a huge revival as a younger generation picks up the clippers and straight razors.
Old fashioned barbershops slowly dissipated in the 70’s and 80’s as hairstyles ran longer and the need for the straight-razor style barbers provided decreased. However, in recent years, Denver barbershops have seen a fluctuation of customers, particularly in younger generations.
“It’s sad to me, being an old timer, that the barbershop is vanishing in the American scene,” stated 82-year-old Dick Alderson, owner of O’Brien’s Tonsorial Parlor in Denver. Alderson has been a barber for 64 years and has claimed that the industry has changed drastically since he started when he was 19-years-old.
“Anybody who wants to bring back an old barbershop, I’m all for it… I’d love to see that instead of fancy hairstyling salons.” -Dick Alderson
Some shops have survived throughout the years along with O’Brien’s, including 80-year-old Hollywood Barber Shop. While these barbershops are still up and running, there have been some new shops that are taking Denver by storm, like Proper Barber, which opened in 2011.
Proper Barber offers a vibrant atmosphere; it has the old-school barbershop feel with a modern twist. Men sit in old-fashioned chairs that face each other as a rebooted barber shop pole sits in the front window. The place hums with music, enlightened conversations, and the buzzing of razors. When Proper first opened six years ago, there wasn’t anything else like it in the Denver area. The shop now has two locations open for business.
20 years ago the term “metrosexuality” was coined in the wake of shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Though we’ve (thankfully) moved away from the overly fragranced and bedazzled Ed-Hardy rockin’ men of the early 2000s, a new version of these men are rising.
With faded out man-buns and filtered instagram selfies; male personal grooming is becoming a booming industry again. Regardless if you want to put a label on it or not, there is another rise of men honing in on their grooming and physical appearances.
Coupled with the influx of younger generations moving to Denver, whether for jobs, marijuana, or the outdoors, this is good news for these new shops.
Ryan Williams, co-owner of Proper, said, “The growth has been so much… There’s plenty of work to go around.”
With the recent increase of popularity in the last five years, it looks like the modern barbershop is a trend that will not fade anytime soon. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more Denver barbershops pop up in a couple years.