David Barron left school at 15 and trained as a men’s hairdresser in central London. In December 1968, he took up a post managing a men’s hair salon on a Cunard cruise-liner, which gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his innovative cutting skills.
In London, at the height of the Swinging Sixties, he pursued his ambition to revolutionise men’s hairdressing, just has his mentor Vidal Sassoon had done for women’s hairdressing. His concept was to style men’s hair in a way that epitomised the growing trend for men wanting longer hair like their favoured pop groups.
A few weeks after his twentieth birthday, he bought a small, outdated barber shop in Hornsey, and a job-lot of black paint. Inspired by the Rolling Stones’ song ‘Paint It Black’ and Neil Armstrong’s legendary line from the surface of the moon just two months earlier, ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’, he painted the shop black inside and out and called it ‘One Step Ahead’.
David took pictures of his haircuts and produced cards that he posted each evening around the local area. One Step Ahead became the place to go for men’s haircutting, but, before long, it became one of London’s first unisex hairdressing salons, with the girlfriends, wives, sisters and even the mums coming in for the same haircuts as their menfolk.
Three years later, a second One Step Ahead appeared at the top of Muswell Hill. Set on two floors, adjacent to what used to be the ABC cinema, the salon became ever popular, attracting wannabe , dedicated followers of fashion, along with many well-known faces from music, TV and film. David’s eventful and colourful career over the last five decades has brought many accolades as on of London’s most innovative hairdressers and photo-stylist, over the years he has trained numerous young people in the art of precision hair-cutting. With national hairdressing and photography awards to his credit, he is recognised here and abroad as an inspirational leader in the hairdressing industry.
To mark the 50-year anniversary, a photo-exhibition of David’s hairdressing career from his early beginnings, to date, including many of his award winning hair photography images will be showcased at the Barron salon on Muswell Hill Broadway from December 27th.