Styles like razor fades, slickbacks, psycho, high and tights, tapered pomps, vanguards, and contours -- just to name a few -- are making a huge comeback to go with the newfound beard obsession that is sweeping the nation.
The old school barbershop brings back the old style traditions that have been taught and practiced since 1893 when A.B. Moler of Chicago opened the first barber school in the United States.
"People like me and other shops are trying to bring back the old school ways," Monty Dobson, owner and barber of Razor Edge Barbershop said of the barbershop resurgence. "Clean shaves and good cuts," he said.
Dobson, also known as "The Barber" to his customers and around the area, has been cutting hair professionally for eleven years now. But he actually began at the young age of 14, giving him 24 years experience doing what he loves.
"Having someone walk in and you can cut them, I think that's just cool," Dobson said.
"The Barber" learned the traditional side of cutting hair from those closest to him.
"My grandpa had four brothers that were barbers along with him and my cousin, who's a barber. It's a family tradition," Dobson said.
Along with fellow barber Carlin DeVille, Dobson has been in business at Razor's Edge just more than a year. It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it type establishment on E. 11th Street between S. Lewis Avenue and S. Utica Avenue.
Three tool boxes sit behind each of the three chairs, holding barber equipment that Dobson and DeVille need to give the customers the best haircut possible.
On a recent Thursday morning, the back door that leads to the back alley, or "the yard," as Dobson describes it, is open. The sounds of E. 11th Street blend in with the booming sounds of "Cocaine Blues" by Johnny Cash and the other different old school tunes that Dobson has set up for the day. The music can be rock-a-billy one day and punk rock the next.
Razor's Edge isn't the first traditional barbershop in town, not with legendary barber Jim Blue and Capps Hair Center, but it is part of a trend that appears to be growing with the recent opening of The Chop Shop on E. 21st Street between S. Sheridan Road and S. Yale Avenue.
It takes the place of a former, well-known barbershop, Hilltop Barbers.
Owner Shawn Carter along with barbers Dakota Coppage and Bobby DeCou stand covered in tattoos, but don't judge these books by their covers. They're much more than that.
"As long as they give us a chance they'll see we're just people," Carter said.
Carter sits in one of the waiting chairs looking at his phone through his thick-framed glasses. He wears a faded black, flat billed hat that looks as if it has been through the ringer a time or two. His tattoos ride up his arms until his black short-sleeved shirt provides some cover. He's dressed much like how he acts. Relaxed.
Once introduced to the three men, you realize that these confident, boisterous, and good-natured fellows are more than just guys in tattoos. They are passionate about bringing back the traditional styles and in many ways the machismo that went along with old school barbershops.
"When you go into barbershops you want to feel like a guy, that's what we're trying to bring back," Coppage said. "Guys need somewhere to go, you come here and enjoy your time, put your life on vibrate, hang out, get a straight razor shave and cut, and feel good when you leave."
This modern day boys club is surrounded with bright red walls, black shelving and doors and a classic black and white checkered floor tiling. A plain look at first sight, but what the shop lacks in style and personality at the moment is filled with excitement and passion by the men who occupy it.
"Barbering's a lifestyle. It's not just some nine-to-five job. We believe in what we do and we're trying to pass that to those who walk through our door," said Carter.
The door of the shop was open on a recent beautiful afternoon, and the men plan to keep it open as not only a way to draw business, but to let other men know they can come in, crack open a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon and have some good no holds barred conversation.
There's just one rule though.
"What's said in the shop, stays in the shop," said Coppage.
Another establishment fits the same bill as Razor's Edge and Chop Shop, but is more involved in the grooming of men not just in their classic hair style choices, but their appearance in general.
The Elephant in the Room Lounge gives men the chance to come and get the classic cut and razor shave they want, but they can have a day in the establishment, pampering themselves with massages, facials, hand treatments and scalp treatments to just name a few of the extra benefits to take in.
"When I moved back two years ago, I knew we had to bring this men's grooming lounge to Tulsa," said Justin Moore. "We want to educate men on fashion, how to take care of their skin and hair, and just picking the right products. Tulsa just needed something like this."
The lounge may differ in what they offer to the public from the other barbershops, but like most traditional barbershops, not only will the customer get the smooth feeling of a straight razor shave, but they will get that personal one-on-one connection with the barber.
"We do so much more than haircuts," Moore said.
Moore, a retired cosmetologist, runs the day-to-day operations around Elephant in the Room, which has two locations at E. 91st Street and S. Yale Avenue and also at E. 16th Street and S. Boston Avenue.
What began as a national trend, West Coast to East Coast, this resurgence of traditional style with a new school twist is here and growing in Tulsa.
So if you're looking to get away from your busy job, hectic family life, or just looking for a new style, come in, pop open a cold beer, relax, and have a chat.
They'll have a chair open for you.
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