Is Segregation Back?
Unisex can be a misleading word. Whispers of creating similar clothing styles for men and women started as early as the Victorian era, but it wasn't until the 1960's that the term 'unisex' was used with attachments to the hippie movement and women's liberation. Equality, not just for women but for all was the dominant theme of the latter half of the 20th century. (and still today, Jesus H. Christ let's get our shit together)
Gender walls were broken down and unisex barbershops and salons became the norm. My father, at about this time, broke from his lifelong habit of going to the barber for his boy haircut #5 that he hated and walked into a salon with red velvet walls and draperies and became attached to a more customized look.
Less than a decade ago, old school barbering re-entered the mainstream beauty world thanks in part to Schorem Haarsnijder En Barbier; the Scumbag Barbers of Rotterdam.
In the salon world and for cosmetologists wanting to hone their barbering techniques, classes focusing on men's services recommend a different language to speak to men. 'Wispy' turns into 'shattered', 'fringe' turns into 'front', and 'layers' turns into 'shape'. We recognize that there is and should be a difference in the way we communicate. There is also a difference in priorities for services delivered to each gender and some of the top salons in the world are creating separate spaces within one business to appeal to the different genders. The priorities are the same: hair and body care. The methods of achieving the end goal differ.
At the Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa in London, there is an area set aside for the Men's Grooming Destination. The meta-ness of a salon in a salon is to die for, and when given the choice to visit a men's only space within a salon, clients are choosing the option that appeals to their gender. So much so that other salons have or are copying that model of different process, different space.
Disclaimer: the title of the article is deliberately misleading. Segregation is the forced separation of groups. What our industry is doing is giving options tailored for the differences in gender dynamics. We just wanted to be provocative. /End disclaimer.
What makes salons and hairdressers stand out as our industry tailors a service for each gender? Does your verbage change from gender to gender? Does the way you approach products or style education differ, what about the very basic principle conversation topics? Does that change? 90s unisex be damned; we are different and that is ok. Destroyers, tell us how you add value and definition to your male-identifying guests at #destroythehairdresser.