Men’s hair: How to successfully translate seasonal fashion week trends
Words by Adam Gore, founder and director of Barberology
A men’s fashion week is always a great source of fresh style inspiration for the modern man. If you’re not afraid to play around with your look, are keen to keep on trend and are skilled at spotting the hottest new trends before they filter through to real life, London Fashion Week Men is a particular hotbed of hair inspo. Renowned for pushing the style boundaries and giving us exciting new styles each season LFWM is a reliable barometer of the trends that will be all over Instagram in three months, and all over the streets in six. However, the golden rule is translating these fashion week trends into unique personal styles that work for you, rather than copying them blindly.
Everyone’s personal style is unique, and although trends are a great barometer of what’s set to be hot and a blueprint from which to create your own look, a modern man should retain his individuality at all times; being on trend and unique shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. Fashion week trends can also be extreme versions of looks, and not always so wearable in everyday life. With this in mind, a truly stylish man knows that to be on trend he needs to translate – rather than replicate – trends and make them work for him.
Translating trends successfully means being able to identify the core elements of the trend that make this look different to what we’ve seen in previous seasons and then fusing these features into more everyday styles and cuts. Take the new season ‘man fringe’ for example. Yes, bangs have been around for a few seasons, and therefore have the potential to come across as more mainstream now. However a small tweak can transform a fringe for the new season. Last season ‘baby bangs’ were all the rage – thanks to Fendi’s fringe-heavy S/S19 show. This season, it’s all about Cottweiler’s side fringe: so a deeply side-parted side sweep, cut and shaped into your current style by your barber, will give your look an instant seasonal upgrade.
As barbers, when we’re translating a new hair trend for our clients, we identify what makes this particular trend stand out as new for this season. We pick apart the elements that make this trend fresh and then use this as a reference when cutting our clients’ hair, using the client as our ultimate guide for how we choose to translate the trend. We will take into account how on trend the client wishes to be – some clients are happy to go for a seasonal look, while others want something that references a new trend, but that won’t date as quickly. We will also take into account other features, such as the level of maintenance the client is willing to commit to; whether the style is suitable for the client’s lifestyle and job; and whether it is reflective of their personality. Finally, but equally as important, we will take into consideration physical details – for example, we always cut to a client’s head shape, as this completely makes a cut.
If you’re looking for some new hair inspiration from fashion week, online trend reports and men’s fashion magazines are a good place to start as they’ll condense the predicted top trends to come out. You’ll know immediately which trends are for you and which aren’t, and you can then jump on Pinterest, or scroll through Instagram to find examples of these trends on real life men and on celebrities or models, beyond the catwalk. It’s useful to see how these trends work in real life, and against day-to-day clothes, rather than against high fashion looks. The photos you find on Pinterest and Instagram will also work well as good visual references, which you can then take along to your barber, to show them exactly the look you’re going for.
It’s safe to say that not every man wants a bang-on-trend look: many of our Barberology clients are quite bold with their hair and fashion choices and are usually keen to try out the latest hair and beard trends, however there are many men who would much prefer to stick to classic styles. If you fall into this category, but have spotted a trend you like the look of, then speak to your barber about incorporating elements of the trend into a more classic and trans-seasonal cut. This has the effect of updating a classic look, keeping it fresh and modern, without taking you too far outside your comfort zone.
Another effective way of dipping into a brand new trend, without veering too far from your current look, is to find a new season style that doesn’t require too much of a change. So, for example, if you’re currently sporting a long style, why not try this season’s 90s-style shoulder skimming locks? Ask your barber to chop your longer locks into a cut that sits just about shoulder height. Wear it mid parted, with a hint of wave, very little product and lots of natural shine – think Jared Leto in the Nineties. You can just as easily update your look by trying out a seasonal texture trend, that involves no cutting whatsoever. This season’s love affair with hair that is full of touch-me waves and tactile texture (dubbed ‘hearthrob hair’ by one particular publication, thanks to its effect of making people want to run their fingers through it) is an example of how updating something as simple as the texture of your hair, can have the effect of instantly updating your style, no scissors or clippers required. Check out e.Tautz and Band of Outsiders for visual references.
It’s usually the smaller details that define a new trend, so bear this in mind when you’re looking for inspiration that’s new, on trend and seasonal. For example, long hair is in again this season – but the way it’s being worn has had a seasonal update. The last few seasons long hair has been worn nonchalant, carefree and effortless, whereas this season it’s all about carefully stylised lengths. At Christopher Raeburn long styles were crafted into intricate French braids and woven with colourful ribbons, while at Iceberg long hair extensions were straightened to within an inch of their lives and paired with logo-branded ski-wear inspired headbands. The length of the locks remains the same as last season but the way these cuts are styled, and the vibe they exude, is completely different. This is what defines a new season and so it’s these finer details you must pay attention to if you’re to channel new season trends successfully.
Colourful ribbons and ski-wear headbands might not work as well down the pub on a Friday night as they do on the runway! Remember, also, that when it comes to grooming trends, it isn’t just your hair that you need to think about. Beards have real potential to make or break your look, and a style of beard has the power to instantly update your style or to look a little dated. You don’t need to try out an entire new trend in order to update your look for Autumn/Winter 19. After all, updating small details is the key to translating trends into wearable looks and truly defining your new season style.
Image at the very top of the article credit: vonora/Bigstock.com