Joey Power on his new collection, and what it takes to carve out a barbering career
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Joey Power spent many years as a scrap metal dealer – he’s as committed to barbering as anybody I’ve interviewed. In fact, he gave up a good career in order to take a gamble on doing something that he loved: his barbering achievements show that the gamble paid off.
After heading to the London School of Barbering, Joey started in a local barbershop before being taken under the wing of Dale Ted Watkins. Now he’s the head of the show team for BarberBarber, a barbering educator and a member of the Young Feds team, all alongside shooting his own collection. Clearly this is a man who knows his stuff!
There’s so much to talk about I barely know where to start, but before getting into Joey’s own work I want to know how the wonderful BarberBarber owner Johnny BaBa has contributed to his career:
“Without working here, I don’t think I would have got noticed. He mentors me throughout the industry and he constantly, constantly pushes me to achieve what I’m going out to achieve. Johnny gives me a kick up my arse massively in the right direction”.
His other mentor, of course, has been Dale Ted Watkins. Dale also helped Joey put together his ground-breaking Temporal Shift collection, and it was fascinating to hear more about that process too:
“Dale was a massive part of that collection. I’ve never done a photo shoot before – I’ve been on shoot with Dale but only to assist. So now I’m art directing my own shoot I needed that backing from Dale.”
This meant getting involved with everything from directing to making suggestions for the hair itself, and Joey tells me that he stopped him from feeling like a “fish out of water”. It’s very clear, though, that Joey was the driving force behind Temporal Shift, and his creativity breaks through every shot – so let’s hear more about his inspiration, and the work itself.
“I wanted to mix heritage and the now. Temporal Shift is a movement through the past, bringing it into the present. I wanted to mix traditional suits with a bright pattern. Colourful, yet classic and timeless. Hair wise, I wanted it to be very edgy but still using the traditional techniques”
This allowed Joey to put his own twist on timeless classics, a bold move… but clearly one that payed off. Putting the collection together meant working with a range of different team members, from Andrew Gilbert who took the shots to his makeup artist Gareth Harris and colourist Sophie Dale. Please take the time to look through the collection here, where you’ll also see the credits for everyone involved.
“What we got out of that collection wasn’t just photos. It was the whole shebang: that’s what I wanted to do on my first collection. And what was good about doing that collection was that it’s shown me something that I’m really interested in outside of the barbershop.
“It’s opened my eyes to so many different things, actually realising what goes on behind a collection. And looking out of the box for inspiration – you’re always looking for different ideas, different ways that you can show your creativity. It’s given me a nice little look into the fashion world as well.”
Following on from this discussion of Temporal Shift I was curious to know more about Joey’s general concept of hair, and what he thinks is important when doing a cut:
“First and foremost, it has to be suitable for the client. End of. There is no point putting a mod haircut on a rocker. I like to work with long hair. I’ve kind of found a little niche. I really like the dirty, distressed lengths.
“You’ll see in my collection, there was a lot of mid length hair and then we did some really cool textured stuff. I like hair that kind of explodes, that’s got a lot of internal shape and structure. For me that’s kind of the nuts and bolts, it’s all internal work, shattering the hair lines and things like that to build character but the shape must come from within.
“It’s given me more hunger to do stuff outside of the barbershop. And it’s shown me that there’s more to hair than the average short back and sides.”
Never Do Anything by Half
I was also extremely interested to hear the motivation behind Temporal Shift: why did Joey feel the need to create a collection to this extent?
“My old man told me never do anything by half. And I truly believe that if you’re gonna do something, do something proper. This was important because it was kind of my debut into the industry. I did it primarily to get noticed”.
It was also a great way for Joey to do the haircuts he really loves: many barbers will know that it can be difficult to find clients who want more outlandish cuts! I really believe that this collection is going to blow people’s minds – particularly younger barbers who might feel inspired to create a collection of their own:
“If you’ve got an idea, run with it. Get it down on pen and paper and as soon as you wake up in the morning, think about that idea. And as soon as you go to bed, think about that idea. That’s what built the fire in my belly. If you’ve got a dream you’ve got to think about it day and night. It’s got to be everything and all to you.
“You’ve also got to have a very strong team, and you’ve got to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and everyone on that team has to have that same vision that you have”
This means really selling your idea to the team that you work with, and getting them on board with what you want to do! Joey adds that it’s important to be open-minded, but not to the point where you’re compromising on your vision.
Always pushing to the next level
We’ve talked a lot about Temporal Shift but, as I mentioned at the start of this post, he’s done a whole lot more in his time as a barber. One bow on his string is education: Joey is currently training new barbers at the BarberBarber shop.
Finally, we talked about the Young Feds: what does it mean to be part of that team?
“It means so much, because it takes me back to my grassroots. Once I met Dale and Dale took me under his wing, I begged him that wherever he went I wanted to go after him. And I was at Salon International and I was watching the young feds and I was thinking maybe one day if I work hard enough, I might be on stage.”
The chance finally came when Simon Kibler left the team: Joey jumped at the chance to let Adam Sloane know how interested he would be. A little while later, they decided to give him a shot as a fill in for another barber. Clearly his work impressed, as they went on to offer the full-time gig.
“To be a part of that team, it was a dream come true really.”
A truly fascinating barber, and one to watch for the future: believe me when I say that this is just the beginning for Joey Power! I can’t wait to see what he brings us next – in the meantime, you can see what other top barbers are up to by following Larry the Barber Man on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube: I’ll see you there.