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[T-Shirt Tuesdays] Bros with Fros: High Fades, History and Community Spirit

[T-Shirt Tuesdays] Bros with Fros: High Fades, History and Community Spirit

| On 20, Aug 2013

A collaborative project from graphic designer Lakwena Maciver and seasoned barber Mark Maciver was formed after Lakwena was commissioned to add her signature style to one of Holloway’s most popular barbershop D&L’s. A graduate of London College of Communication, Lakwena has been commissioned to do work for the likes of Toms, The Secret Garden Party, Diesel and Palladium.

Bros with Bros originally came off the back of a work in progress Lakwena was working on which looked at the history and documentation of how black women’s hair is portrayed in the media and ways in which she could challenge Western standards of beauty. The clothing line’s bold graphic style pays homage to popular black haircuts (including the ‘Juice’ cut, which was inspired by the film of the same name) whilst educating the wearer about the history of each style, something which Lakwena felt was very important:

“I think it’s interesting that Black men in the media are often portrayed in a particular way so Bros and Fros is a really nice way to celebrate something about them that is positive.  I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Mark does as a barber so this was a great way to communicate that.” She cites Kehinde Wiley as one of her inspirations stating they in a similar way they are both redefining standards of beauty through their work.”

 

TNB_BWF_product cards

Style & History: A product card with information about the haircut is included with every purchase.

 

The shop which has been around for 17 years has come to be known not only as place for people to get haircuts but has also played a key in upholding a spirit of community. This is something that Mark says has been a big inspiration to him having worked at D&L’s for the past 10 years.

“This barbershop has helped a lot of young people, it’s diffused problems between gangs in the local area and is generally a place where people feel comfortable and safe to come to. Before Lakwena started working on the mural for the shop she conducted a survey asking people to write down words they felt the shop embodied and most people wrote down ‘community’”. The shop is respected by the young people in the area and even when there have been opposing gangs that have been there at the same time there’s never any trouble as they both have a mutual respect for what the shop stands for – it’s also enabled us to help diffuse those issues. 

A big part of that has to do with the fact that we’ve seen a lot of the guys that come to the shop grow up. I’ve been working here for 10 years so I’ve seen boys who on their first visit here were 3 and now they’re 13, 10 who are now 20.  We have rules and people that come here know them so we’ve maintained a certain standard of quality throughout the years which we are known and respected for.”

 

TNB_BWF_mark and model

 

Mark likens D&L’s to a community centre where anyone from your traditional church going ladies, grandmothers to grandsons – all are welcomed. The barbershop has made an effort to establish personal relationships with each of its clients so much so that when Mark and Lakwena got married a good number of them were invited to the wedding. Both Mark and Lakwena are keen to expand the Bros with Fros brands and spoke of adding more styles to the collection as well as creating short films and a magazine focusing on barbershops. I can’t giveaway too much but a number of iconic musicians with equally iconic hairstyles were mentioned!

TNB_BWF_mark and lakwena

Mark & Lackwena Makiver

Bros and Fros is so much more than a T-Shirt brand, and having spent a morning listening to them speak so passionately about the project I definitely get the feeling that they want it not only to be something that’s fashionable but something that will impart knowledge and help add the essence of community and friendship that they’ve been able to bring to D&L’s.

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