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Suits are a wardrobe essential, but not just for the 9-5. This season we’re taking things outside of the boardroom. In our last instalment, we meet Ben the barber-turned-businessman. We caught up to talk first suits and kick flares…

Name: Ben May

Age: 33

Profession: Barber

How did you get into barbering?

I was sixteen and didn’t have a lot going on so my mum suggested hairdressing. About seven years in and I decided I was going to jack in high-end hairdressing and went to work at a tiny barbershop in Isle of Dogs that charged £10 for a cut. I’ve been barbering ever since.   


How did Barber + Blow come about?

It’s a hairdressing concept for men and women that’s been built in high end gyms in London. We opened two and a half years ago with the intention of moving away from a conventional high street and popping up inside convenient locations, offering really well-priced services to compete with larger chains. At the minute, we have three in 1Rebel gyms and are expanding with them later this year. We’re also looking at partnerships with new brands for the future. 


Does your profession influence in the way you dress?

No I don’t think so. A lot of barbers have become really influenced by their surroundings and by each other.

When would we see you wearing a suit?

Weddings, christenings or funerals. I recently threw away all my suits actually, I kind of just assumed all the weddings were done, but now I have three more this year.


Tell us about your first suit…

It was my prom suit. I bought it one Saturday morning with my mum with a stinking hangover. It was a massive, misshaped oversized suit. I looked like an idiot but I thought I was the bees. I wore it with a pair of spats.


What do you look for when you choose a suit?   

I’d like to believe I favour comfort over style, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I certainly steer away from being relatively conventional, I like a cropped trouser - even though my ankles are the doughiest part of me, I’ve genuinely been mocked for years for my chunky ankles. I should probably go for a kick-flare to detract from them. I like a fitted jacket and never really wear a tie but I’d go for a grandad shirt.

What do you like about this suit?

The colour and although I’d normally go for a shorter trouser, I actually really like this suit.


Should every man own a suit? 

Yeah, why not. I really enjoy putting one on. I tend to look untidy most of the time so it’s actually nice to wear one and feel presentable. 


Why does your profession suit you? 

I’m relatively creative and I enjoy interacting with people. It’s easy  to have a vision or an idea but I’m very fortunate that I’ve been able to facilitate it. I opened my first business four years ago and after thirteen years of grafting for other people I decided I’d quite like to make it my own. Probably because I just wanted to work four days a week and needed to justify it, but I find it really hard to register success so I wouldn’t like to claim myself as being successful. 



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