How we've missed that cheeky grin... Senior Barber Rory returns!
Having returned to Murdock Shoreditch (his rightful home, we like to think), we caught up with the ever-cheery Rory Hazell to discuss his travels to Australia, reflecting on months spent utilising his skills in Melbourne under former Murdock Shoreditch Head Barber Josh Mihan...
Rory, it's lovely to have you back. Tell us about your time in Australia
I felt like I just needed a change of scenery. It's something I've always wanted to do and before I knew it I had a flight booked, my visa sorted and I was on my way. It all happened very quickly, I definitely didn't have time to overthink anything.
I was out there for 10 months from February to December and worked at the Bearded Man in Melbourne under Josh. Having the job secured in advance gave me that sense of knowing I'd be comfortable as soon as I got there. The shop itself was unbelievable.
We can only imagine with Josh running it...
I thought there was going to be too much wood after the way he first described it so enthusiastically to me, but it's so industrial without being pretentious. And the word pretentious and Josh go very well together... In all seriousness he's done the shop amazingly well - it's beautiful and I think that's half the reason it got busy so quick.
Speaking of quick, your time over there seemed to fly by - we thought we might not see you again
Ha, lucky you!
What did you miss most?
The obvious one is friends and family. A bit of Albion at lunch.
Over there with fashion, everyone is willing to try everything so inevitably you see some absolute horror shows... Over here there are so many subcultures - I missed the multicultural feel of London. Very quickly you realise how multicultural London is and how amazing that is.
How does barbering in Australia compare?
Barbering in Australia I think is seen as more of a service, it's perhaps not seen in such high regard as in London. But the actual barbering scene felt like it was rapidly developing to where it's at now and constantly evolving. There was definitely the nostalgic barbershop vibe of recent years present too - plenty of tattoos and piercings and a real #barberlife feel.
The casualness was nice, but I was comfortable there rather than progressing, so decided for work reasons that Australia wasn't for me - which sounds really sad but it isn't. I loved the people I was with in Australia in terms of living and working. Everyone was wicked and that's perhaps the biggest difference, I felt so immediately welcomed and was naturally brought in to the new environment.
Pride of place at Murdock Shoreditch, Mr Rory Hazell
So was the original intention to stay longer?
Yeah, Josh very kindly offered me a sponsorship which was on the table. But the way I went about it I wasn't looking to set up home there. With hindsight, I would probably go about it differently. I was mostly hanging about with backpackers and it was all very short term. You start to look at what you're doing and it's very different to what your friends are doing. So it was quite hard to break way from that temporary mindset, but with that I met so many amazing people so no regrets there.
So we trust you're enjoying being back in London (and at Murdock)?
Yes. Not just in regards to work, but the whole area and that sense of familiarity. Back to the creature comforts!
There's definitely been some change here which is quite interesting. Aaron has since nicked my chair for example, but clients still call it mine so it's fine...
Back at Murdock (in his new chair) doing what he does best
What are your points of view on contemporary styling? What are you noticing more and cutting more?
I feel like guys are looking to embrace what their hair naturally wants to do and going for longer styles. There's a real 90s element to everything at the moment, but the 90s done properly. So for example you're getting the old school curtains but done in a much more aesthetically pleasing way.
Where do you think this stems from?
It mostly comes down to how hair has developed. Hairdressing and barbering in general has developed ten fold from where the 90s left it. Guys are also becoming a lot more in tune with exactly what they want and being a bit more clear about it. So rather than just saying 'I want curtains' and leaving it at that, they will say 'I want curtains but I want this here, I want that there' which is good. It's always so nice when clients are as passionate as their barbers about the end result.
So looking ahead, what are your future predictions for styles on the horizon? Where do you see things shifting next?
I'm all for the mullet. It's coming back with a bang.
Yep - and it's not just because I've been in Australia that I want the mullet to come back!
We're already seeing a lot more cuts with a heavier finish at the back. It's not the traditional mullet where it's cropped really short on top and there's just this bush of hair at the back. It's a bit more tailored but I'm all for it. I'm enjoying it.
The Contemporary Mullet, cut and styled by Rory - purveyor of business up front, party in the back
You've had the pleasure of cutting some already then?
I cut a few over in Australia and I loved it. It was such good fun because you can be quite versatile with it. I'm even thinking about growing one myself...
We can't wait to see it. So which Murdock products would you use to achieve a contemporary mullet?
You've got to go with Sea Salt Spray. In fact just bathe in it! It's more about just letting your hair do what it naturally wants to do. I'd quite like it with a glossier finish so you could probably use a bit of Hair Play in there too. Rather than smoothing it through, just scrunch it in to get a glossier texture. It's coming back, I'm telling you! David Beckham's already teasing his.
For plenty more style inspiration and to keep up with the development of the mullet in 2017, be sure to follow Rory on Instagram. To book an appointment in Murdock Shoreditch, just click the link below.