Hometown: Victoria BC Canada
Career other than hairdresser: Bartender
Professional Mentor: Kathy Simon, founder of the Mekka System
Last book read: How to Win Friends and Influence People
Instagram-er you follow: Mark-Jason Solofa @mjsolofamensgrooming
Music that is inspiring you: Tribe Called Quest, Johnny Cash and Charlie Parker. Kind of a mixed bag.
Mantra: Work hard and stay humble.
Dream client: Ricki Hall. Love that guy’s beard.
Matty Conrad is a stylist, salon owner, photographer, Canadian Men’s Hairstylist of the Year 2014 and Schwarzkopf Men’s Grooming Ambassador whose commitment to his craft and to sharing his enthusiasm for it has earned him a place on a “Coolest Barbers to Follow on Instagram” list (Details magazine). Conrad give good reason to stay interested in his career as he takes on new challenges, embraces new trends and promotes a return to classic men’s styling.
“I started in beauty at 20 years old and I thought it would be a great way to meet girls,” says Conrad. “Ironic, now that I am a men’s grooming specialist. Fortunately I fell in love with the craft. It allows you to be very creative, to work with your hands, and to be expressive. Every new person that sat in my chair I looked at as a great new project and great canvas, not just to do whatever I wanted to do but to work together with this person, to collaborate and craft something truly unique.”
After building a following and earning his stripes as an industry educator, he opened salons and his barbershop, Victory Barber and Brand.
“I loved the idea of creating opportunities for my friends to come and work,” said Conrad. “One day, after years of doing this, I lifted my head and I had about three salons and 40 staff members. I started cutting hair and all this popped up beneath me.”
Victory Barber and Brand in Vancouver has been a proving ground for a movement in men’s styling that emphasizes a return to traditional grooming practices. And Conrad is leading the charge, sharing his life as a barber and platform artist on Instagram at @mattyconrad.
“A lot of hairdressers are moving into new market barbering. It revolves around the classic style of men’s grooming. Many hairdressers learned hyper-texturized cutting but they didn’t learn classic tapers or fades or transition or really classic men’s work. Almost as a response to save those skills from obliteration we see these hybrids of salons and barber shops opening. They are bringing back the ritual and the focus on men’s grooming and service.
“We’ve seen this barbering community open up in the social world, too. I have barbers from all over the world come to work in my shops as guests. We can learn skills from each other that aren’t being taught anymore. Social media has allowed me to connect with barbers all over the world and share what we are most passionate about. It’s opened up opportunities for me in cities all over and introduced me to friends that will last a life time.”
Conrad won The Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards (The Contessas) with his own photographs. He shoots a collection for his salon, LAB in Victoria, every six months.
“We do seasonal collections to reflect our mood and what we’re inspired by. It’s important to me that what is shown in our shop is created by our shop. Instead of having things that really, really stale we try and do our own and to keep it fresh.”
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