Ruffians’ long-haired lovers

Andrew Cannon, co-founder of Ruffians, explains how the brand tackles training while sharing the new shoot from senior educator Denis Robinson, Shoreditch Social

“At Ruffians, 85 per cent of the training is shop/salon-based, building the core skills that are necessary to generate income through the shop – that is our life-blood after all. However we don’t want our team to be limited by the constraints of the salon environment and therefore we teach them what it is to cut creatively and editorially too.

“In order to make sure we give them the full education, we turn to some of our most experienced team members, like Denis Robinson, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years. We give Denis the challenge of taking the graduate hairdressers from our Shoreditch, Marylebone, Edinburgh and Covent Garden salons, and showing them what the world of session and editorial hairdressing looks like and involves.

“These images are from one such educational exercise we carried out with our graduates, called Shoreditch Social. The shoot is an entirely internally focused piece, designed to educate and inspire our young talent [and even stars Tommy Cunliffe, the Rising Star in the 2015 It List!]. In this collection Denis was focusing on the trends of long men’s hair, educating the team on the subtle differences in cutting/styling long men’s hair from women’s hair.

“The inspiration behind the shoot was to show our team that barbering is it not all ‘blades and fades’, and to hammer home the point, the shoot was a scissor only affair, teaching the team to really focus on scissor work for long and short styles.  Our aim is to have Ruffians as the highest standard in men’s hairdressing, so as modern barbers we want to drop the barriers between ‘barber shops’ and ‘salons’ to create a hybrid men’s hairdresser, who is able to look after any and all of the changing needs of our clients, be it a skin fade or long hair.

“We also believe session work is where some of the most innovative ideas come from. Teaching the team to working within time and budget constraints always helps to give a different level of discipline, which transfers to whichever area they see themselves developing into overtime, be it a manager, trainer or art team member.

“By teaching skills in unique ways, like through a photo shoot, helps to push our team’s boundaries, which is important to challenge people to stretch their skill set in a fun creative way. It’s what keeps old-hands like Denis and young graduates inspired and motivated. We understand that this form of education doesn’t always lead to our graduates entering into the world of session hairdressing, but it does make them more rounded individuals and helps to determine their course in Ruffians and ultimately where they will go in the industry.”