In February, I caught up again with Frank Rimer from the Shoreditch barbershop, Thy Barber, just before he and his team appeared on the cover of BarberEvo magazine.
BarberEvo’s cover illustration was a painting of the Thy Barber trio – Frank, Pauly Harmer, and Edmond Rowe – done by the artist Vince Kamp, whose barber-inspired collection ‘CUTS Portraits of Barbers’ was exhibited in March in London’s Hoxton.
In this video, Frank speaks to me about his own evolution over the last 18 months. As I predicted the last time Frank and I spoke, the shop has needed an expansion, and in the last year and a half, Thy Barber has gone from a one-chair operation to three chairs and Frank has been in the spotlight as the barber commissioned and entrusted to take the beard off Wolverhampton model and the man voted as having the “most influential hair in Britain,’ Ricki Hall.
Frank and I talk about that opportunity to help raise money to fund research and raise awareness of Mesothelioma, the cancer that Hall’s father died from. Franks says that it was a privilege to do the Captain Fawcetts’ sponsored event, and that it also opened up new horizons for Hall too, who now plays with the design of his facial hair and is no longer afraid to just go beardless!
Thy Barber is known as the place to go in London for classic cuts like the Rockabilly and Psycho Quiff. While the team behind the reputation is fairly new, Frank says that they not only fit together perfectly, but share the same ethos of professionalism and a certain way of doing things. He describes Pauly and Ed as humble barbers, who are open to learning and always willing to up their game. The team is lucky, he says, to work in the “hub of fashion central” with its great underground scene and status as a trendsetter. “Everything happens in London 2 years before it happens anywhere else,” he says.
Described by Jody Taylor as “the best traditional barber in London,” Frank who shares a mutual admiration for the London fashion week hairdresser and stylist extraordinaire, has built his brand on among other things, a network of relationships. His alliances bring a variety to his work and for instance, he and Pauly, have been working with the workwear specialist behind LaneFortyFive, to design a smock for barbers that will be available by mail order in the next few months. The unbranded handmade garment has a scissors pouch, internal buttons and can be tapered by the wearer. A lot of thought has gone into it, says Frank, and each smock will be handmade and custom-sized.
Thy Barber has also become the ambassador for the Camden Watch Company and more recently has become a retailer of a new brand of male grooming products called Copacetic, available for purchase in-store. One of Frank’s earlier relationships, of course, was with the duo behind the Bike Shed, Vicky and Dutch. Frank dismisses any speculation that he owns the shed and explains that the store’s location evolved out of being part of a pop-up show idea that originated with the pair behind the Bike Shed brand. At the annual event, hosted at the Tobacco Docks, Frank showcased his skills and worked with a range of talented guest barbers, known in the biking community. As for how he actually feels about bikes, he says that he loves to look at them, but wouldn’t risk riding them for fear of damaging his hands, the tools of his trade.
The inspiration for Vince Kamp’s signature piece from his collection of barber portraits, Frank, and his team, were also happy to introduce Kamp to the people Frank describes as “the cool looking guys” or the “more respected” barbers that featured in the artist’s work. In exchange, they each have a portrait of themselves done by Kamp, which frames each of their mirrors and is a “huge talking point” of the shop.
Apart from planning to run some courses this year, dates to be announced, Frank whose upcoming nuptials is soon and has been dividing his time between Canada and the UK, says that he won’t be doing many events this year. Fans of his work can catch him at the Bike Shed event from the 26-28th May at the London Tobacco Docks and at the Big North Tattoo Show in Newcastle on Sat 29th April.