Q&A with Jeremy Davies-Barbala

Federico Advanced hosted Jeremy Davies-Barbala, as he presented a three-day hands-on course, plus launched his latest collection, Wabi-Gami. While with us, he shared his well-earned philosophies on the value of craftsmanship - the downfall of craft trades - and his stance on collaboration over competition within the industry. Read on to learn a little bit more about Jeremy's philosophies, and enjoy a visual journey of his time with us, plus get a front-row seat to Jeremy's presentation of Wabi-Gami.

Q. Share a few words in regards to your background as a craft hairdresser.

A. I wanted to learn from the best, so I trained at Sassoon and worked my way up to Senior Creative Director, first in London and then in LA. I then went on to hold the role of International Creative Director for product brand Joico. Now I have my own hair education brand as well as an academy , based in Norway.

Q. You released your latest collection, Wabi-Gami, at Federico Advanced in Sacramento, CA. This was a bold and unexpected move. What prompted you to make this decision?

A. This was a ‘no-brainer.’ I was due to come out to Federico Advanced to deliver a 3-day Fundamental Principles course, and I made the decision very easily on the grounds that Adam Federico and Davies-Barbala Education share the same values and vision for the industry: To elevate the standard of craftsmanship within our trade.

Federico Advanced is also quickly becoming an important institution for showcasing the talent of today's hair industry, and we want to be a part of that!

Q. The independent movement is strong – some might say rampant. How do you plan to set Davies-Barbala apart from the rest of the companies striking out on their own?

A. Keep the ego out of it and be true to what we believe in.

Our focus is to give people the knowledge to develop their own style of work. We want to teach the language of cutting hair so people speak it fluently, and feel empowered to move forward and develop. Also, we believe in collaboration over competition, and have no intentions of ‘stepping on the toes’ of other independent brands. Rather, we want to make sure we are cheering on others who have also set out to do their own thing.

Q. What direction do you hope to take your company in the next five years?

Growing in an organic way is important to us, as well as being consistent in all we do. Our combined backgrounds in hairdressing, as well as in fashion and cultural theory on an academic level, has informed a lot of our future plans. So, as well as continuing to create shoots and educate hairdressers, we are working on some writing projects and a series of seminars built on the culture of hair.

Q. Share your thoughts on the downfall of craft trades.

Craft trades such as carpentry, pottery and hairdressing (to name a few) have seen a downturn in credibility and skill-set, globally. I have spent a lot of time over the past years thinking of why, and my conclusion is that young people [are now] heavily encouraged to get a degree and take an academic route, rather than starting an apprenticeship tradecraft over this period. This in turn has seen the standards slip in all the trades through lack of investment and participation, and a drop off of seasoned and skilled professionals.

All of the above is one of the reasons we started Davies-Barbala Education. One of our core values is to elevate the level of craftsmanship and value of being a hairdresser, to the level of respect it deserves. This is only achieved from the ground up! Trade crafts (such as hairdressing) have so many levels of education and skill-sets to teach.

I know because I started hairdressing as an apprentice at 15, and I don't regret anything. I owe everything to our craft.