BANGALORE: Hair can be twisted and rolled, curled and straightened, coloured and styled in all sorts of ways to keep up with the changing fashion trends that come and go with each season. Hair is an important part of one’s grooming and the right hair cut speaks volumes about one’s personality. But ever wondered what it takes to be at the other end and give someone a great hairdo? He wondered as well.
After years of experience and having styled the rich and famous alike, from the sublime Agyness Deyn and Kiran Rao to the ridiculous Rowan Atkinson and just about everyone else in-between including cricket legend Shane Warne and supermodel Kate Moss, Brent Barber continues his journey in India by collaborating with b:blunt — the premier hairdressing chain owned by Adhuna Akhtar ­— to open and lead the hair dressing academy in Bangalore. “Hair dressing is a vital career option for people. India is a big market and in the last five years there has been a change and booming in the styling biz,” says Brent. It is amusing to see well equipped professional parlours in Bangalore. It’s quite amusing since majority of them adhere to international standards.”
Having joined b:blunt early January, Brent feels that Bangalore is fresh and new due to its strong student population. “Bangalore is fantastic since it has a strong student population. A common pattern that I have seen within women in India is to have long hair. But this city has a younger crowd which is open to short bobbish hair styles,” he explains.
His journey began when he was 19-years-old in Melbourne, Australia. As pertinent his name sounds, Brent Barber began exploring and experimenting with his creativity in his hometown in Melbourne. But at 27, he was smitten by the alluring charisma of the world’s fashion capital, London and soon shifted base to the high-profile fashion streets of London. “One of my greatest inspirations, were the streets of London. I have also been highly inspired by Angelo Seminara’s work,” says Brent.
He joined the newly formed team at Brooks and Brooks in London where he gained vast experience working as an integral member of their renowned art team, participating in shoots, seminars and hair shows. After years of hard graft travelling the length and breadth of the UK, Europe and beyond, Brent’s big moment came at the end of 2005 when he won the title of British Men’s Hairdresser of the Year. That was a period of amazing professional growth and for Brent and the Brooks and Brooks salon– it became one of London’s most awarded hair salons. Seven years later he joined Franco and Co. as a partner at the boutique — to use the skills and experience gained to create a salon of cool sophistication under-pinned by great service and a flawless product. Ask him the difference between his clientele in India and abroad, he’s quick to say, “There is no difference between the choices that people make here and there, at least I can’t deduce anything. Hairstyling is very subjective and individualistic. People are different everywhere, that is what matters.”
Working for British and Indian GQ, Esquire and Vogue, Brent has been creating iconic and wearable looks for men and women across the fashion globe. But what do people want in Bangalore and what should they go for? “Women seem to be open to the halo shaped variations of the bob while wet spikes are common among the men. I would want people to open up more to shorter hairstyles in different settings.” “Men could go for very short tapered exterior, heavy on top with a short fringe held back and women could go for a halo bob — more like a rock chic way — with disconnected interior layers and volume on the crown.”
So as Brent explains what is in this season, do not hesitate to experiment and look forward to the b:blunt hairdressing academy. The academy is already successful in cities like Mumbai and Pune. The Bangalore chapter has opened this month and “absolutely anybody can be a part of the academy and get trained. From house wives, students to the ones who are dedicated to the idea of styling or want to take it up professionally,” says Brent.