The Interview: Behind The Scenes At The STMNT Shoot

Modern Barber headed to Manchester to meet up with STMNT ambassadors Ryan Lewis and Charles Rose to discuss their latest shoot, featured exclusively in this issue – and soon to be distributed as a Look Book across UK shops. As two barbers/men’s hairdressers/short hair specialists – defining who they are in the industry forms much of the conversation. Ryan shares that he finds himself caught between evolving from a backstreet barber to something between a barber and a short hair specialist whereas Charles’ focus remains on the career he’s loved from a young age – whatever category he falls into, he’s just doing it for the love of the job.

As Creative Art Director, what was the vision for the shoot?

Charles: Something down to earth, that barbers can relate to instead of editorial looks. We’ve mainly focused on looks the everyday barber can create; we want to create a community at STMNT where people can relate to us, by using the products and explaining how we use them so they can use them in the salon. It was a very smooth process.

Ryan, what drove the decision to put one of your own barbers forward for the shoot?

Ryan: I was gutted I couldn’t be there, but the great thing now is that I’ve got a few lads working with me who are ready for that next step up. It was the first step for Luke, I’ve seen the images and what he’s created is brilliant.

Do you see your role as ambassadors to support the next generation with these opportunities? 

Ryan: Absolutely, it’s our responsibility. The talent coming up is much younger than it used to be, so we shouldn’t be using the platform we’ve been given just for our own gain. One of my younger members of the team went to the shoot, he didn’t really do anything, but he was able to learn from just being in that environment. Now it’s far less daunting.

Charles: As a brand, STMNT is about building a community, and if we can bring people in that’s great. Everyone on the shoot was slightly younger, and it was exciting for them. If we can teach them what we’ve learnt over the years and provide them with opportunities, it’s good for us and for them.

What was the response from barbers after the shoot? 

Charles: They loved it. Even the assistants (who are more important than the rest of us half the time!) absolutely loved it and every single one of them I’d invite to the next one to keep building a team in the UK. And it’s not just about being a young barber. If you’ve got passion, you can get involved.

Was there anyone that gave you those opportunities when you were younger?

Ryan: Not really. I’m very much a behind the chair barber, that’s where I like to be. In the past five years, I’ve started pushing myself but at the same time these type of shoots have only just started to become more of a thing in barbering.

Charles: I’m from a hairdressing background so I’ve been lucky enough to have opportunities but in barbering, not so much. I agree with Ryan, in the last five years the industry has grown a lot more. For us as barbers, gents hairdressers, short hair specialists, we’re getting a lot more respect from other industries to create things like this Look Book. STMNT is all about short hair, there’s a woman within the shoot and the products work for every gender, so it shows the respect we’re getting as short hair specialists.

Ryan: The industry is changing and I don’t think being called a ‘barber’ is the same thing anymore. STMNT is a gender-neutral brand, it’s just about short hair. So, where Charles said we’re short hair specialists, we need to figure out what we are, I don’t know the answer but we’re not just barbers, we’re not necessarily hairdressers but we’ve created something new.

How does it feel being brought on board as ambassadors? 

Charles: Ryan would agree our styles are different and what we do is different, but we respect what each other is doing. I’d never call myself a celebrity hairdresser or barber, I don’t believe in it. This is our job, for me this is my life and I love what I do so it’s nice to feel appreciated by a brand.

Ryan: I’ve spent years building up my skillset so it’s amazing to be picked up by a brand like STMNT who care about your passion, your skills and your quality. Thinking about Luke who went on the shoot, it wasn’t about how many followers he has or how well known he is. The brand trusted me to say that he was good enough and that his cuts were relatable.

Did you know each other before you started working with STMNT? 

Both: No!

Ryan: I know Charles has been around for a long time and is very good at what he does but because I was so focused in what I was doing I wasn’t open to the hairdressing world when he was doing that work. Since working with STMNT it’s opened my eyes to those skills.

Charles: The barbering world was a completely new thing when I moved up north and set up my own brand. I thought there was a hole in the market within short hair. Meeting Ryan through STMNT, I have so much respect for him and everyone else in the industry. The more people you know, the more people you learn off, and the better it is.

Check out what happened on the shoot here…

This is a sponsored feature in collaboration with STMNT Grooming Goods.

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