Interview With Master Barber & Belfast Mod Sam Arthur

Sam Arthur is a Belfast born Mod, scooter enthusiast and “Grand Master Barber” with over 30 years experience in the barbering and hair dressing industry.

Being of the mod persuasion is all about looking good as young post war British teens before us were determined to distance themselves from the way their predecessors lived and dressed. listening to a cool new sound in modern jazz inspired by new brands of music and fashion representative of a changing Britain during post war immigration. Mods wanted to move away from the look of the teddy Boys and looked to Europe for inspiration insisting on tailor made suits and shoes.

Naturally a change in fashion became a necessary change in hair -style with mods male and female looking to Europe and the rest of the world for inspiration. Such cuts as the crew cut, the Caesar cut, the french crop, the layered cut, french combing style, the geometric cut and more.

During the mod revival Paul Weller made the Square/blocked back a popular style for many young teens adopting the same principles of style and fashion as the original mods of the 60’s. It has become known as the Weller cut or mod cut with many variants still being added today. Steve Marriott & Paul Weller’s hair have been a huge influence to Sam as well as many other followers of Mod culture.

Sam Arthur has been creating the mod look for many people across Ireland and the UK since 1987 as well as many other new styles as trends continue to evolve.

I was excited to feature him in an interview discussing some of his interests, achievements & the awards he has picked up through his career in the barbering world.

Sam is a talented and inspirational man who travels throughout the UK teaching & mentoring a new generation of barbers. If you looking for the iconic mod cut or or the latest new trend then Sam’s barber shop in Belfast is the place to go.

Read More about Sam Below:

How did you get into the mod scene and what inspired you to do so?

I got into the mod scene in 1984 back then subculture was a big thing and young people followed a fashion and music style of many groups and styles I admired the smartness of mod clothes and music …..and quickly got involved in the scene which I’ve never left and still mix with the same crowd.

What was it like growing up in North Belfast during the mod revival and was there a huge mod following? And What is the scene like in Belfast today?

The scene now is growing with many young men and women joining us on ride outs and weekenders which is bringing back the numbers to be as high as they were back then …..growing up the mod scene was accepted as being the in thing and we all vied for the “ace face “ tag … was a scene enjoyed by both sides of the religious divide and still brings people together today many scooter clubs have been formed south of the Border.

You are a Grand Master barber who has won a variety of prestigious awards in the barbing and hair styling world. Tell me about some of these awards?

I became a grand master barber in 2016 however I was NI barber of the year 2015 & 2016 …..I was Hall of Fame winner 2015 for myself and my shop …all Ireland champion 4 times for both male and female hair cutting and a master craftsman award from the barbering council.

When did you first start cutting hair and where did you learn your craft to become the only Grand Master Barber in Ireland and one of only eight within the United Kingdom?

I started off pottering about in my sisters hairdressers at 16 ….and I was cutting my friends hairs at school doing mod cuts from 17 ….I left school in 1987 and took over my sisters shop and proud to say I’m still there today …still cutting many of those guys hairs 33 yrs on…..

Can you tell me a bit about the criteria and professional standards that must be met to achieve and be awarded the Grand Master Barber award?

To become a grand master barber you must be able to prove you are one of the following a teacher,lecturer,assessor or academy owner…… I regularly hold training sessions within my salon and I am an assessor in my local college.

You do some incredibly inspiring work with young offenders teaching them to cut hair, offering them a new skill in the hope that this will help them break the cycle and re-offend. Can you tell us in more detail how you got involved in doing this?

I was asked by a friend who works in NI’s only young offenders centre to do a master class for a new group of young men ….this proved very successful and the young men changed their outlook and attitude towards how to dress in work look after your equipment treat clients etc …..this centre has changed recently to a secure college so my work more lately has be a natural migration between them and their sister college in Belfast…becoming and assessor ,a judge at their competition nights and adviser to a new barbers shop set up.

You are regularly travelling across the UK, most notably to Brighton & London teaching and conducting seminars. Tell us a little about that?

I regularly attend barbering conventions and spend my time at them teaching my signature mod cuts and judging….. I have judged 4 times at the grand master barber event and barber of the year…I’m currently the only educator and ambassador for Spencer Scissor ..Going to Brighton for the annual mod weekender gives me a great advantage to increase my customer base through meeting many far travelled mods.

You have large collection of Scooters and have become quite a collector. Tell us about your collection and do you plan to add any more to it?

I currently have 6 scooters at home and just bought my 7th today …. i used to show my scooters regularly and have won many many awards

I have 3 GS scooters a triumph T10 a Lambretta GP175 and a series 1 Lambretta today’s purchase was Vespa range street racer

as far as buying more ….never say never

You have a variety of clients who come to your barber shop from across the world. Some may be very well known to us. Tell us about some of these people & the places they travel from?

My clients travels from Milan,Vienna, Germany, Spain Australia…. i have my mainland UK clients …I treat all my clients as special individuals and no one is treated differently i proud to say I Do have many local NI celebrities but need to respect their privacy

What can potential clients expect from a visit to your Barber shop?

THE BEST TREATMENT EVER….mod hairs cut ….the shop is a shrine to the mod culture ….we are a family business so my wife who works with me ensures that our clients are well looked after and everyone is very welcome.

Tell us about some of the Mod weekenders in Northern Ireland and your contribution in helping promote and organise them?

There is over 30 weekenders and rallies and i support and promote all of them…i hold evenings for up and coming singers and bands in my shop ….which are very well supported. I run a scooter group on social media and host charity runs throughout the year.

What advice and guidance would you give young people starting out or training to become hairdressers, stylists or barbers training?

find your own niche …. take time to learn ….promote yourself…..don’t be afraid to be different …..ask questions of someone you consider a trendsetter…..believe in yourself and most of all enjoy.

Make sure to check out Sam’s Barber Shop on Facebook & other social media platforms for more details and to make your appointment now.

Mods Of Your Generation 2021, All Rights Reserved. No part of this interview may be reproduced without the permission of the authors and Mods Of Your Your Generation. Image & Logo ©️ Sam Arthur & Sam’s Barber Shop, Belfast.

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