Industry News

So Good Looking: 20 Years of American Crew

Anne Moratto | November 10, 2014 | 12:14 PM

THE EVENT:  It has been 20 years since hairdresser, salon owner and photographer David Raccuglia founded the men’s grooming brand American Crew in Chicago.  Today, the brand is available in over 40 countries and a global competition draws hairdressers from all over the world to compete to be named the American Crew Global All-Star.  On November 9, 2014 in Denver, CO, the American Crew family came together to celebrate those twenty years and to look forward to the future. 

THE DETAILS:  A multi-media runway show featured imagery and video from the past 20 years of American Crew.  The looks on the models in the videos, taken over the past 20 years, shared a similar groomed, masculine style that evoked the well-turned out traditions of the 1940s and, remarkably, looked as relevant today as they did 10, 15 and 20 years ago.  Live models were styled by the All-Star team of American Crew hairdressers and these looks reflected three strong themes: the New Classic Man, Rockers and Sport. 

Laurence Hegarty, who has worked with Raccuglia since the brand’s inception in 1994, and Marty Flaherty, senior vice president of business development, acted as emcees. “Twenty years ago, David said we should have a line that we can sell to men, so let’s make some styling products,” said Hegarty. “And we all started mortgaging our houses.”

“Since the beginning, we have been committed to men’s hair,” said Raccuglia. “Product is just a tool; men have great hair because of us, the hairdressers. It’s amazing to me that our brand, little American Crew, is now found in all these countries and we have this incredible team of All-Stars bringing it to all of you, around the world.”

THE ALL-STARS: Theri DeJoode, technical director, and Paul Wilson, artistic director, oversaw the styling backstage.  Many of the international American Crew All-Stars were in the house to bring their unique talents to this anniversary show.  DeJoode commented on the look called “The Rockers” which featured models in styling that echoed the 1950s, Elvis Presley’s abundant curls and James Dean’s wide cuffs and leather jacket.  “This look is rebellious, the kind of hair about which people would have said, at the time, ‘Oh my God, get a haircut.’”

Jerome Kantner (first photo above --second from the left)  of Germany, the winner of the American Crew All-Stars Global Champion, and Bradford Davison (second photo above-b & w--second from the right), the U.S. All-Stars winner who went to Lisbon, Portugal to compete in the global championship in April 2014, each styled three models.

 “One model’s look is business, one is vintage and one is trendy,” said Kantner. “On the vintage model, I kept the top long and swept over and gave him this hard part. The sides and back I made short but not too high.”

After competing in the global championship, Davison went on a voyage of discovery, visiting fellow-finalists from the Global All-Star Challenge in their home countries and at their work place.  His time in these different locales and barber shops influenced his styling decisions.

“My model, Austin (to the left of Davison in the photo above), is what I was seeing in Spain; longer hair and texture on the top,” said Davison. Austin was also the model he used for his award-winning submission, last year. The blonde model with the low side part and defined curls was inspired by his time in Sweden while the bow-tied model’s grooming was a reflection of what he saw in Ireland.

 “What I learned from visiting these different countries is that we’re all hairstylists and we all have the same passion and speak the same language,” said Davison.

“It was the greatest thing to do, “said Jerome Kanter of competing in the All-Star challenge, currently underway for 2015. “I would tell everyone to do it, to find their style, to find their own American Crew style.”

PHOTOS ABOVE: Paul Wilson puts the finishing touches on a "Rocker" model and David Racculgia (with the mic) addresses the audience, backed up by Lawrence Hegarty, Theri DeJoode, Paul Wilson and Marty Flaherty.

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