It’s very easy to visit Berlin with certain preconceptions about the city and its inhabitants. So finding a barbershop that cuts in the 50’s Rockabilly style exclusively – painfully short back and sides with a shiny slick on top – may feel a little predictable.

But Stan’s Headquarter isn’t here because of an old trend being regurgitated, re-appropriated to suit a new, more trend conscious generation. He cuts hair this way because its simple, yet takes the skill of a trained barber, and its what he loves to do. It comes as no surprise that he has many of the same customers he had thirty years ago.

Stan has been cutting hair for thirty years, although he only recently returned to the trade after more than ten years away.

He never cuts anything except the neo-Rockabilly flattops and uses the same tools, such as these scissors, that he did when he first began.

Stan grew up in West Berlin, finishing school a few years before the wall fell, and has stayed in the West side of the city ever since. He lives in Neukolln but his barbershop is located in Mitte, the heart of Berlin – although perhaps that is a misleading choice of words. Mitte is Berlin’s most central district and while it appears a fairly vibrant and cosmopolitan area, according to most Berliners, including Stan, the area has undergone such massive gentrification and cultural sanitisation, that it bares no resemblance to the Mitte that was once the heart of both Berlin’s counter-culture scene, and of the city itself.

Stan, like so many other Berliners, seems conflicted by his home town. “Berlin? Well, its a love and hate thing. Its very comfortable here but has become way too crowded over the last few years. I grew up in West Berlin and have never left. But sometimes I think about leaving, perhaps to Sweden”. He began cutting hair before he left school, honing his skills by cutting his friends hair and even his own, “I started cutting neo-rockabilly flattops in 1984 after school but I began cutting my own hair in 1983 – I tried out all kinds of styles on myself though. I worked for one year as a professional barber after school but I wanted other things too – my drivers licence, some holidays – but the pay for a trainee barber is very low. I also got tired of cutting hair for a job, it was less fun doing the cuts other people wanted me to do”.

 

 

 

 


 

“Its nice to see when a guy loses a lot of hair, because they become a different person – something changes in that 45 minutes of grooming”

 


 

Just as Stan will only cut and style in neo-Rockabilly, he only uses the products that were used in the 50’s when those cuts were popular. This includes Murray and Lanman Cologne, Pinaud After Shave, Pinaud Hair Tonic, and Lay-Rite Hair Pomade.

A number of different vocations have come and gone in the intervening years since Stan quit hairdressing; an Operator for IBM, postman for an annuity insurance company and a traditional leather craftsman. But he found that the demand for the haircuts that he loved to create was still there. “I had my own business for ten years, working as a traditional leather craftsman on medieval markets all over Germany. I would build and demonstrate how to work with leather as the Vikings would. It was fun, but financially it was terrible. Then in 2007 a friend suddenly asked for a haircut. First there would be one or two people a week asking, then that became three or four, word spread quickly and that was it. Stan was back”.

Stan now has a customer base of 150 and growing. He says he feels very lucky to back in the barber game again and even though the techniques have moved on since he last cut hair, he still uses the old tools, “Every job you do, good tools are necessary. Look after them properly and they will last you for life – when your scissors are for cutting hair, only cut hair. I’m not sure about using new tools, maybe when mine are all blunt. Anyway, I need some new parts for my 1957 motorcycle first!”.

Like so many other native Berliners we encountered, Stan is completely without pretension. He does what he does because he loves to do it, and Berlin allows him to make a living from it. “I love the special moments, at the end of a cut when the customer sits up in their chair and says ‘thanks Stan, I’m feeling great. You made my day!’. Its nice to see when a guy loses tons of hair, because they become a different person – something changes in that 45 minutes of grooming. I feel very lucky to be back cutting hair for friends, new customers, for everybody. As I always say to my customers, life is too short for bad hair cuts”.

“I feel very lucky to be back cutting hair. I always say, life is too short for bad hair cuts.”


 

Stan’s
Headquarter

Große Hamburger Straße 19A
10115 Berlin
Germany

W. Facebook.com/Stans.Headquarter
T. +49 30 43739760