From inspiring the men’s grooming category to defining men’s hair trends to partnering with iconic brands like Harley-Davidson, a lot has happened in the last 25 years for American Crew. As they celebrate a milestone, we find out what’s ahead for the brand with an interview with the man behind it all: David Raccuglia.
What have been the keys to American Crew’s success?
In 1994 [the year American Crew was founded], there was no men’s category, so we didn’t do it the fast way. We did it very slowly through education; teaching people how to cut men’s hair and to be inspired to want to do men’s hair. Through our collections, imagery and passion for men, we taught stylists that had no experience in cutting men’s hair to adopt our techniques and become good men’s groomers. We did that one salon at a time, one city at a time, one country at a time. It doesn’t surprise me now that when the category is on fire, which it is, American Crew is leading it.
People had the opportunity to see a preview of American Crew’s new look, when the brand’s Canadian team presented at the 2019 Contessa Awards. Tell us about that.
This was a true example of how American Crew is redefining the classic man, with modern style. How we see it is, today’s man can be someone with a sleeve of tattoos, a pompadour, or sideburns—there is no one look that encompasses today’s man. The Contessa presentation really showed how our new look is bringing timeless style into a new era. Our customer, and our product line, has broadened—launching innovative products and attracting new customers. We’re a diverse brand with an equally diverse product portfolio, whether this means celebrating a younger, clean- shaven man, an older, more refined man, bearded or otherwise. We feel the men’s category is growing exponentially, and so is our focus.
Since you’ve taken on a more behind- the-scenes role, as photographer for the brand, what has been your favourite part of that?
I’ve been lucky to see the business from several perspectives, whether it’s behind the chair or now behind the camera lens. Something I’ve been fortunate enough to be privy to, in all of these positions, is really getting to know men and what they want. These learnings have been paramount when developing American Crew’s products and offerings.
With the men’s industry evolving, what do you think is needed, in terms of education, to help more hairstylists and barbers be on top of their game?
I think it’s really important to be versatile and not too one-sided. Clipper cutting and scissor cutting is a balance—it’s what made American Crew. American Crew took mid-century modern technical scissor cutting, and classic barber clippering and morphed a technique that made you a very well-rounded groomer.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that just barbering is enough. That’s what I would recommend to anyone who is loving the men’s grooming category. You want to be able to cut hair to make it do what you want, and not just shave it off. I feel that that’s really important; mastering and getting hair to do what is needed for your patron based on your skills.
What is next for American Crew? What else are you hoping to accomplish?
We’re looking forward to even more innovation in the men’s category. It’s been so exciting to witness the boom and comeback of the barbershop, that we always predicted. As the industry continues to evolve, American Crew will be there to support it with more products to answer the hair and skin care needs of all men, and their stylists. In regards to what we’re hoping to accomplish, American Crew will continue to stay one step ahead and lead the pack in men’s styling trends, with classic yet modern style.