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Travel to Dubai


Akin Barber & Shop, Dubai

17 September 2015

With a nod to tradition, architectural styling and a community feel, this is the only place that you should take your beard for a tune-up in Dubai

Neatly trimmed or wild and bushy, the humble beard has gained an almost cult status, elevating men’s grooming and seeing the return of traditional barbershops, such as Dubai’s new Akin Barber & Shop.

Co-founded by entrepreneur, Leith Matthews, Akin brings classic barbering to the city, offering haircuts, shaves and beard trims from its location at Burj Al Salam, opposite the World Trade Centre. “Akin Barber & Shop plays on the notion of a classic New York City barbershop, masculine yet playful and delivered with a discerning, design-conscious eye,” says Matthews. “The brand’s ethos and style appeals to cool, independent urban sensibilities,” he continues.

For the bearded Australian, who made his name launching Make Business Hub, Akin is in response to Dubai’s growth as a city, its thriving entrepreneurial community and residents’ increasing appreciation for quality, craft and independent style.

“The options for men’s grooming in Dubai have traditionally been the basic ’street level’ barbershops or the up-market spa salons found in hotels or malls, with neither style truly resonating with the growing urban community of the city,” Matthews continues.

“Dubai is growing, ever changing and maturing. The residents of the city are savvy global citizens, who understand quality and appreciate innovative and authentic concepts and there is currently a groundswell of independent homegrown concepts launching and succeeding across the city.”

“The architects on this project are extremely talented and their aesthetic is strong, clean and thoughtful, says Matthews. “The design blends elements of raw industrial with careful craftsmanship. The shop has a great flow and feel, whether you’re in for a cut or shave, or simply dropped by for a coffee, chill and a chat.”

The architects’ goal was to create a meeting-place for Akin’s design-conscious community of clients, while drawing inspiration from the barbershop’s master craftsmen, including Dan Mellor. Dan has been honing his craft since childhood. Growing up in Birmingham, England, the approachable and skilled craftsman says barbering is in his blood.

“My parents own barbershops in the UK, so from a very young age I was exposed to the trade and before too long I was assisting the barbers with simple duties like sweeping the floor and making coffees for their clients,” says Mellor.

“The lifestyle of a professional barber appealed to me and I knew that if I were to hone my craft, I would be able to travel the world and explore different cultures, while at the same time, growing as a barber.”

With its focus on a quality and friendly service, Mellor says that Akin already has a strong following and filled a gap in men’s grooming in Dubai.

“Akin Barber and Shop does great quality hair cuts and shaves, with a focus on beard culture – one of our most popular services is a beard tune-up. Beard oils and moustache waxes are available at Akin, which a lot of our clients have been looking for a long time.”

Words & Images: Sandra Tinari