ASOS MEETS AMERICAN CREW
By Amelia Bell, 20 July 2019
Why did you start your own brand?
In the early 90s, things were very different in the grooming industry. We had the grunge era, we’d just come out of hairspray in the 80s and, of course, the androgynous era. Since I’m classically trained as a barber, I always had this vision of men looking really well-groomed – great hair cuts, great style – but from a classic perspective, even though it was really early to start thinking about that (because in the 90s most men didn’t use their own grooming products and shaving was the only form of grooming as a necessity). Guys didn’t take any enjoyment out of using products, so I felt that going back to eras like the 40s, where men were impeccably groomed, was something for the future.
What’s your mission as a brand?
Firstly, we celebrate the pros – the barbers. We teach cutting curriculums and our first goal is to grow the barber and hairdressing community and teach them our methods, then to apply our products. If the haircut is really great, then the product performs at its best. Secondly, it’s about recommending the right product for the right person. We use classic ways of cutting, but we adapt based on trends – for example, using new textures on styles like the pompadour.
Who and what are your sources of inspiration?
I have always been a photographer and have captured all the imagery for American Crew from its conception to today. Some of my earliest memories go back to 1965 when I can remember my uncles and Italian-American family with greasy pompadours – blue-collar men who were impeccably dressed. This has all stayed with me, and if you look at the earliest images taken for the brand, you can see the inspiration from my family and their grooming.
What are some hairstyle trends you’re seeing right now?
You still see a lot of guys wearing vintage styles with short back and sides, but the top is long. It’s almost like two hairstyles: bottom area is clean, the top is where they express themselves. Guys can tame or make it more extreme, it’s quite experimental. I think length will also be coming back soon, too.
There’s a new hybrid of products within our range called Fiber Cream. The original Fiber was created for the texture of the mid-90s (when the 80s Miami Vice look was being replaced). Fiber Cream gives you the texture and hold of some of the heavier pomades, but it’s also really pliable and flexible. This is a really cool product we just came up with last year, and instead of having a matte finish, it has a natural finish. It’s more flexible – Fiber is crisper and better for shorter styles, whereas Fiber Cream is better for longer hairstyles.
In terms of formulas, what are some of the key ingredients you use?
In the styling products, we add lanolins and beeswax, whereas for the cleansing and conditioning treatments, we use ingredients which are going to moisturise. Tea tree, for example, is a great antiseptic for healing and is great for your skin and scalp. As for the scent, it’s my goal to have a scent that dissipates away, so Fiber has more of a citrus fragrance, which is fresh and clean but not too overpowering.
Top piece of advice when it comes to haircare?
Talk to your barber. I really believe that you’ll get the best information on the right cut for your face shape and texture of your hair – it needs to be signature for you.
Finally, what does the future of grooming look like?
I think skincare will become as important a part of your routine as shaving and haircare. Shaving has changed so much in recent years, it’s no longer a daily thing, and if you look at grooming in general, it’s all very different. In the 50s, very few guys had beards, but now beards are everywhere. It’s no longer just a trend – they're definitely not going anywhere.