Barber Industry Interview – Guest Judge Luke Davies

Luke Davies is a professional barber at popular barber brand Ruffians and is also a former London School of Barbering student. Luke started his barbering journey here with us at LSB, taking two of our barbering courses to build up a solid foundation in barbering, before he started working in the barbering industry. It was an honour inviting him in to be one of our expert guest judges for our competition that took place on Friday 9th February.

He served as a great guest judge, as he had the combined experience of being a student at London School of Barbering previously and now being a professional barber working for an award winning barber brand Ruffians, which really appealed to our students. He was able to offer valuable tips and advice to our students who have just completed their NVQ 2 Diploma beginner course.

Our students battled it out in the fade competition to impress Luke with their speed, technical and creative skills that they have worked hard to develop over the past 9 weeks. Luke enlightened our students with an inspiring account of his short barber career and the students were impressed with how he has established himself as a top barber within a short time. The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing with our judge Luke being blown away by the talent that our LSB students showed and our students who were thrilled to listen to Luke’s positive story. Luke discussed the barbering industry, London School of Barbering as a place to train, his role as a judge and some tips for our up and coming barbers, among other things. Read his exclusive interview below:

LSB: What is your name and where do you work?
LD: My name is Luke and I’m working at Ruffians in Marylebone.

LSB: What is your take on the barbering industry at present?
LD: Over the last year the barbering industry has just blown up I think, from it being more hairdressing and male cutting would just be kind of short back and sides. There was no kind of shape or style to it. I think more so now, eh it’s just gone bigger and bigger. There’s more haircuts coming out. People are trying new things, they’re not scared to try different sort of styles.

LSB: What do London’s people and culture bring to barbering?
LD: So London’s culture is obviously so much to do with fashion. So what that gives me with my job is a lot of versatility. I’m allowed to try new things. People are willing to accept you to try different styles on them, rather than back when barbering wasn’t so big, it was very much the same cut, but longer or shorter.

LSB: What did being a student at LSB give you?
LD: London School of Barbering gave me a good platform and structure. So coming into it I only knew kind of the basics from my mum’s hairdressing background. So, with London School of Barbering it gave me the understanding of how to section and what to do with different grades. So that worked perfect for me to follow on and go into my career.

LSB: Why do you think LSB are successful at producing barbers?
LD: I had people on my course who have never held a pair of scissors before and now they are doing amazing you know. So from two years ago to now, looking back on how much you learned with the 9 weeks because you learn each structure with the head blocks, then going on to cutting in pairs gives you such a big platform on, because you’re doing it day in day out. With the teachers, the pressure was on you, so you kept learning and you know you could fail and then learn again and develop your skills in such a short space of time which was great.

LSB: What did your role as a guest judge at LSB involve?
LD: So today at LSB we came in and judged. So we judged the NVQ 2’s on their final haircut. So we were kind of marking down on like technical work, the ability to know how to fade, the section on the top, texturising and knowing when to use different tools, so we were marking them on that. Then, we presented first second and third prizes. And then we kind of chatted about our career; what we learned from LSB and where we are now.

LSB: What did it feel like to be a judge here at LSB today?
LD: It was nice! Yeah… it was really nice to come back and see all the old teachers. See how far LSB has come as a barbering school and it was nice for me to come back from where I actually learnt it all. And it was quite an achievement for me to be asked to come down and judge.

LSB: How is the future looking for the barbering industry?
LD: I think it’s massive. I think a lot of people have got to be prepared to know it all, not just the clipper work. People want to put themselves in like an uncomfortable position, where like the scissor work is kind of a lot harder. Fading you can kind of learn and develop, but when it comes to long hair, the sectioning, people kind of shy away from it. So I think it’s definitely huge for the future, if people can do both aspects of it.

LSB: Why is scissor work an essential skill for a barber?
LD: People kind of neglect the top of the hair. They think right this just needs to be shorter. For someone who’s not a barber they can’t really pick out the mistakes with fading, you know you’ve got the fade on the sides. So it’s kind of, that’s slightly ruining the industry I think where people aren’t taking care of it, but again if they’re a busy shop, they want to do a quick job because they got people waiting. Whereas, where I work we’ve got 45 minutes for a cut, so you can take your time, you can wash the hair, so yes definitely worth taking more care.

LSB: What do you think of the educators at LSB?
LD: So the educators at LSB are great. I had Panos for my NVQ 2 and 3. He just kind of understands from the get-go what stage you’re at because obviously everyone’s ability goes up and down throughout. You might be good at scissor work and kind of find it difficult to use the clippers. So, I think he understands that and helps you throughout, rather than pushing you forward and yeah he’s open to anything. It’s easy for them to just you know help them along, but from what I saw today, from the final day, I think they’ve just come on miles and yeah they put the pressure on you when it’s needed.

LSB: What is the secret to longevity in the industry?
LD: I think longevity is consistency. I think people have got to be consistent like you say, you’re only as good as your last haircut. You want to kind of be on the ball and do your best efforts for each haircut because that’s the only way you’re going to progress. Your going to help your career and you’re going to help the industry.

If you want to retrain or improve your current barbering skills or even train from scratch to become a barber, check out our barbering courses page and you’ll be able to find the right course for your needs.

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