London barber Parsa Rad has come a long way since beginning his career at the tender age of just fourteen.
Starting out as a much needed apprentice for his own barber in his native Tehran, he has now climbed the ranks to become Artistic Director at one of the capital’s most prestigious barber shops, The Refinery in Mayfair, and to top it all off, he’s just been crowned the Best Wet Shaving Barber in the London.
The competition, run by the British Barber’s Association and The Bluebeards Revenge, saw Parsa impress the judges with his skills at the regional final, and he will now go on to compete for the national title at the final at British Barber Connect in May.
The win has left Parsa, 26, on an all-time high, as having had such a passion for his trade from a very young age, such an achievement is something he has long strived towards.
“To be crowned London’s Best Wet Shaving Barber is something that makes me really proud”, he says. “It shows that all my hard work over the years has been worth it. The barbering talent in the capital is razor sharp, so to come out on top is a fantastic achievement, especially as it is backed by the British Barber’s Association.”
Such great success didn’t happen overnight for Parsa, and it’s safe to say that a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into getting him to where he is today.
After gaining his barbering qualifications, he decided to take the plunge and make the big move to the UK back in 2006, despite only speaking limited English.
“I had always wanted to live abroad, and to experience different things”, he says.
“And to live on a different continent – especially Europe. I loved being independent.”
And it wasn’t long before he proved himself to be just that, quickly making a name for himself as the manager at the ‘Perfect Cut’ salon in Glasgow, where he also began training new staff and sharing his best-kept barbering secrets.
“Since the age of fifteen, I never had any support from my family”, Parsa explains proudly.
“I didn’t need it – I always stood on my own two feet.”
Ever keen to follow his dream, he decided to move to Leeds, spending a brief spell managing another barber shop and training up staff to a high standard, before eventually arriving in London back in 2008. From there, his career really began to take off, and after starting as a junior at The Refinery, he was promoted to a senior position, and finally, to Artistic Director.
“Since then, I’ve represented the Refinery at many important events, and I’ve even graced the pages of GQ, Shortlist and Harrods magazine”, he says.
“I did a Vidal Sassoon training course in 2012, and appeared on stage at Salon International the same year. In fact, I even trained Vidal Sassoon on how to use the cut-throat razor!”
With an impressive Curriculum Vitae behind him and a wealth of life experience, it’s no surprise that Parsa is now enjoying such great success, and with the Best Wet Shaving Barber final now only weeks away, he is keen to take things one step further.
“I was over the moon just to make it to the regional final, so to now be going on to the final itself is just incredible. I pulled out all the stops to show the judges what I can do in the last round, and I fully intend to do the same again. Barbering is my biggest passion, and winning would mean a huge amount to me.
“Hopefully I can bring the coveted title of Britain’s Best Wet Shaving Barber back to London.”
The event is due to take place at the renowned Celtic Manor Hotel near Newport, on Sunday, May 25, where competitors will come face to face in a boxing ring to take part in a gruelling speed-shaving tournament.