Discussion: Rowan Duley from Uncle Rocco's Barber Shop

Back in November we shot the look book for our first range 'Initiation' with barber Rowan Duley from Uncle Rocco's in Melbourne. When living there (and in Auckland) he was our go to guy for top fades and clean lines. As a well-dressed male that embodies traits we aspire to show within the Walter Crow world it only seemed natural to get on the blower and discuss his take on male grooming and fashion.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hey my name is Rowan. I was born in Hawkes Bay, NZ. Dannevirke to be exact. We moved from there at age 3 to the hippie West Auckland and then to the Hibiscus Coast at 13 where I would say I did most of my growing up until university. I dropped out of uni as I couldn't imagine myself behind a computer (I studied graphic design).

After working a few odd jobs I started a hairdressing apprenticeship at 19. Seven years passed and I got into session styling (the doing of hair for a photoshoot or show - e.g. magazine editorial). I decided it wasn't for me and wondered how I could keep cutting but not in a salon context, hence barbering.

After a short spell in Berlin I've been barbering in Melbourne for the last three years apart from a little stint teaching mens hairdressing. I guess I realised I liked the atmosphere and work of a barber shop so now I'm at Uncle Rocco's in Port Melbourne.

You've been a hairdresser and a barber – what are the notable differences?

The main difference for me would be cutting to shape. Barbering is all about the shape of the finished style. For me, sharp edges, depending on cut of course. More often than not it's about making mens' hair sit how it is cut as opposed to trimming it and styling it. Woman's hair is a whole other kettle of fish so we won't get into that.

Barbering is also a trade, so is hairdressing yes but a barber shop is more like a workshop. The language gets bad, the banter gets better but all and all it's a trade space. In a salon, I always found that it was a platform for fashion first, which I enjoyed for ages but after a while I just wanted a workshop which in turn became a barbershop.



There has definitely been a resurgence in the barbering industry – why do you think this is?

Mainly because men started to care, we all did but it was not talked about. Most barbers were old men - who were rad but not necessarily guys equipped to give you that 0 fade to suit your face shape. With the resurgence of facial hair the barber shop became a place where guys could get their beards trimmed. The price point for a haircut is also better for most, generally being half that or less of a salon.

For dudes the barber shop is a place where you can feel relaxed and be one of the boys. I love that feel with the barber shop, regulars are like gold. Even the ones that just chat they are the best.

There are currently too many barber shops for barbers in Melbourne in my opinion so unfortunately it can be a bit hit and miss with your cut but a little research and it will be the best time you have ever had.

Any advice for people out there who are looking at getting a fresh cut and stumped at what to go with?

Come in. I would ask questions and go from there. Do a tiny bit of research on the shop you want and how far you want to go and you will win for sure . I'm honestly not that fussy myself but i like to produce good work so that varies from person to person.


You're a well dressed male, style picks for 2015?

I feel I am not at this point but if you think so thanks! Get baggier, get comfy but don't be a hip dad. Oh and no biting and no headbands. Man buns are not for me but they seem popular - each to their own again.

Finally, what's the importance of male grooming?

Everything! You need to look good to feel good. Even if it's just new undies, we all know how good something can make you feel.

If you think about it you will maybe get 12 haircuts a year, at my shop thats only $420 (haha bonus). Thats not much really and you will look fucking choice for most of the year. We all care how we look - men and women so just own it and spend some time. Not money - time!


Photos all by David Leyshon. Cheers Phil.

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