The Groomed Gent

So a couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited to the Gentleman’s Grooming Show held at the legendary tobacco docks in London. Needless to say I was really excited about attending this, male grooming has been making a steady dent in modern day culture and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon so i was expecting big things.

With a 10am kick off we were up at the crack of dawn, fed and with slightly sore heads we hit the road for the hour or so journey into London. Stepping into the docks I was meet with a distinguished welcome from a number of hosts handing out programs and a goody bag full of Well man and Menage products, a pretty welcome change from the bottle opener or key chain we have come to expect these days. Oh! and did I mention the free whisky on the way in? Always a bonus in my book.

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Walking into the main hall I was immediately meet by the scents of beard oil and hair pomade, the smells of modern man! Now the docks are quite a small venue but you wouldn’t believe the sheer amount of exhibitors they had in there and managed it without being cluttered. From the now ever present beard and hair products to barbers and from unisex scents from famous actors to tinted moistriser, everything the would be dapper gentleman could ever need all under one roof.

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The oldest guys in the business, the ever epic Morgans pomade  

Unlike a lot of these events I have been to in recent years where you can feel like you have seen it all by the time lunch has been devoured, TGGS kept me interested throughout, with the show being alive with a bounty of different things to see and take in. From the kaleidoscope of products on offer to demonstrations from some of the UK’s top barbers and style icons. Oh and don’t forget the beard comp, 1st place to little old me, thank you very much *bows*

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Some of the stand out exhibitors for me were Morgans Pomade, the oldest independent producer of male grooming products in the UK (since 1873), keeping everything still made in house, you know there’s quality there with this much experience and passion put into their ever expanding range of goods.

 

Fears watches are a London based re-establishment of the legendary Fears out of Bristol in 1846-1950’s. Heading up this re-acquaintance with Fears is Nicholas Bowman-scargill, the great great great grandson of the founders. Fears offers a personalised service and watchbook to track the life of each piece.

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The most epic of watches from Fears Watches 

Third, and I strongly recommend you check him out is Shaun Gordon, Tie maker and designer extraordinaire. Shaun Gordon is a London college of fashion graduate who has a love for turning 2D formats into 3D form. Shaun has worked for Henri Lloyd and timberland in the past and now comprises one part of the design team for shirt makers  Turnbull and Asser. Shaun has also consulted for bespoke products Knightsbridge tailor Edward Sexton. Shuan self named brand has grown with the demand of British luxury goods and is now sold in Savile row by tailor Steven Hitchcock.

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Shaun Gordon’s impressive range

Other notable mentions, brands that either caught my eye or my heart were Joth Davies of Savill’s gentleman’s barbers. Oil Can Grooming two distinctive scents for the masculine beard, bringing the man back into grooming. The amazing scent from legendary actor Richard E Grant Jack Perfume (and yes I did buy some, it really is that good) Lastly No Gunk a quality, natural oil not only for  your beard but also your hair and post shave for those clean shaven brothers out there.

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So what can I say TGGS has stood up to the test, iv’e been introduced to new brands, meet one ‘terrible cunt’, won a beard competition and have come away with a little bit more knowledge on barber skills. Its been a great day and I have fully fully enjoyed myself. I really cannot recommend going enough, and you don’t have to be one suave Mo’Fo to go either, its designed to gently introduce to the idea that grooming is just as much for men as it is for the fairer sex, look out for it next year and grab me for a pint or two.

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Little old me with Joth Davies from Savill’s gentleman’s barbers 

Thought I was done? not just yet. I got the chance to meet up with Laurence, the man with the plan and pick his brains on all things from grooming to movies to chest hair…….read on my friends read on.

*What in your opinion makes a true gentleman?
I think the most crucial element is the way someone conducts themselves and how they make other people feel, always being polite and courteous and gracious.
*How do you think the male culture has changed since the old days? The 40’s/50’s?
I think there has been a vast amount change since the 40s/50s. Its difficult to pinpoint specifics as each decade has brought with it its own changes, As a whole I think guys are more able to express themselves as they wish without being judged or forced to conform which is great. Whether that be how they style their hair, the clothes they dress in or a number of other things the important thing is guys are taking an interest and pride in their appearance.
*Whisky man or a rum man? 
 Definitely whisky, I would never turn down a rum either but given the choice a nice single malt!
*Do you think the lines between masculine and feminine are more blurred than they ever have been with male grooming being a bigger part of life? 
Yes and no, I think whats become acceptable and in some cases even the norm would have potentially been considered more feminine 10 years ago. However instead of the lines being blurred I think that attitudes are changing. I don’t seen it as a un-masculine for guys to want to look their best whether sporting a killer beard or ultra clean cut, no matter what the look guys are taking pride in the way they look.
*What’s your essential product?something you cant leave the house without and always take on away trips? 
Good question, there are a few but if i had to narrow it down to 3 essentials hair clay, moisturiser and aftershave. I think I could get by in most situations with these thee products.
*Favorite manly movie?
300
*Do you think the pressure on men to look a certain way is growing? That’s there’s more of an expectation for men too look good than there has been in the past decade? 
I think there is definitely a growing expectation for men to look good and take pride in their appearance but personally I think that also comes with increased freedom. I think its great to see beards returning to corporate boardrooms for example and I think this is set to continue.
*Chest hair? Is it making a come back? 
Haha, personally i don’t see the Sean Connery look making a main stream come back but I do possibly see the well kempt chest hair seeing a revival. Similarly to beards that have seen increased popularity in recent years with people take pride in the shape and style etc…. perhaps we will see a watered down version of this with chest hair.
WORDS BY PETE BUTCHERS
PICTURES BY ELLIOT STUBBINGS

 

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