20 Jul 2015

OPINION | Beards costing a bomb going down a storm

From City executives to young entrepreneurs making their way in east London’s Tech City, facial hair is all the rage right now and every Londoner (male) wants a piece of it. Whether it’s Hugh Laurie’s unkempt bristles, the shaggy beard that Tom Hardy has been wearing recently, or David Beckham’s signature groomed stubble and moustache combo, the beard trend is in and it’s not going anywhere.

For the past few years, stylish men have let their beards grow. It seems more and more men are growing beards and moustaches, just because they can. Maybe some just don’t feel like shaving, but those who are gifted with the ability to sprout a burly beard or manly moustache are doing so with gusto and at any expense.

After World War II, men were mostly clean-shaven, reflecting the military ethos of the time and one that came to dominate corporate life.

Since the mid-2000s, however, facial hair has been slowly spreading to the point that now the mountain man beard is all the rage across London. And, no, I am not referring to the Father Christmas or Gandalf variety, which have been around forever.

After the financial crash, came a more reflective public mood and a yearning for a simpler time- with some men who lost their jobs ditching the conformist look as they reinvented themselves.

The craze for a kind of pastoral idyll took hold, even if the men lived in Hackney, Shoreditch or Brixton. And with it, came the desire for artisanal food, crafts, folk music. And beards.

The modish and bearded consumers of London can’t stand to be seen endorsing megabrands any more and are opting for independent, trendy retailers. They are willing to pay more for the quality these hip service-providers offer and a good atmosphere.

In London’s east end, this trend has been noted by trend-conscious operators, who are snapping up start-ups offering everything from gourmet pizza to beard nourishing oils.

In a bid to appeal more to today’s bearded urban-dwellers, Murdock London, for example, are offering personalised barbering services that truly reflect the facets of the modern British Gentleman, his taste and his style. Whether you fancy a wet shave or a trim, Murdock enable customers to choose their preferred badger shaving brush, their barber and their razor, offering cut throat and straight edge traditional razors, a double edge safety razors, or a modern Mach 3 blade razors.

Developers now realise that personality equals long-term profit – above short-term gain. And we, CF Commercial, a firm of young, dynamic and innovative property advisors, shape modern retail and leisure developments by finding cutting edge tenants, emerging brands and innovative operators that add genuine personality to a scheme.

Whether it’s Murdock’s personalised beard shaving, Pizza Buzz’s gourmet pizza, or gym start-up Barry’s Bootcamp, mixed-use schemes are getting more than a standard Tesco Metro or a commercialized Starbucks café. They are getting a face-lift.

We are looking to appeal to tech-obsessed, bearded young professionals who no longer distinguish between work and social time and who seek convenience and a hassle-free life.

Nowadays, it’s all about a good atmosphere, innovative food, and cool-sounding music in innovative and cutting-edge environments- different from anything you would find anywhere across the world. And, if all of these come at an increased price over your standard McDonalds or pop chart-topping singles, so be it. It is trend over tradition. But, most importantly, it’s about quality over conformity.

Beards are certainly more popular than ever. And the era of fashionable facial hair and everything the trend stands for is not showing signs of coming to an end. Clearly, there is a beard and innovation culture and we are certain the beard will be used as a definitive visual trademark for the early 21st century, as the moustache is for the 70s.

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