by Mike Beggs photography Steve Uhraney
Barber shops are back in style – but with a contemporary spin. For instance, at the new Eikonic Academy of Barbering and Beauty, 720 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W., Unit 13, today’s younger professionals will feel equally comfortable getting a traditional straight blade shave, highlights, or “hand detailing”. But in addition to being an upscale salon/barber shop with 13 professional hair cutters on staff, Eikonic is also an accredited private career college offering full-time, and part-time degrees in Barbering, and Hair Styling (founded by master barber Martin Truong, and his wife Jessica Hoach). “There has not been a barber-focused college for the last 32 years in Ontario,” Hoach says. “In the Eighties, men started going to salons and stopped going to barbers.” Since 2010, they have been running the Eikonic House of Barbers in Bramalea City Centre, named among the Top 200 best-managed hair salons in Ontario for 2016 and 2017 by Salon Today magazine.
They’ve been seeking accreditation as a private career college for several years. “We went from the barber shop to doing workshops, and realized there’s a need for more formal education,” she elaborates. At this 6,800-square-foot facility, they train their students for both hands-on cutting, and business skills – between the 42 barber stations and 10 hair washing stations up front, and the three lab spaces in back.
“It’s very exciting. It has been a long time coming,” Truong says. “We had this idea from the very beginning.” “We have the shop in Brampton, but our main focus here is better education.” As a teen growing up in Mississauga, Truong, “loved to change the style and colour of my hair all the time”. He started out styling women’s hair, before moving into men’s grooming. “I didn’t know about barbering until somebody told me I’m a good barber,” he grins.
At Eikonic they teach both classic barbering techniques, and “the fade” technique, now practiced by urban barbers (mostly using buzzers). “Urban barbers lack the skill set for a scissors cut,” he relates. “But once you know the fundamentals, then you can pick your brand of cutting.” In addition, Eikonic offers a variety of workshops – from Barber Navigation to Shaving, to Cosmotology, as well as presenting larger events like, “The British Barbers Are Coming” at University of Toronto at Mississauga.
One young student named Tristan came all the way from Ottawa to Eikonic, for a three-day workshop on Scissors Cutting. “I opened a barber shop in my basement a year ago. I came here to buy scissors, and found out about the workshop,” he relates. “I really liked the way they took the time to give me an education, before I made the purchase.” For more information, go online to www.eikonicacademy.com.