The shop I featured last week, “Corner Barber Shop” in Lakeview, conjured the nostalgic yet timeless atmosphere most often associated with old school neighborhood barbershops. It had thrived for decades upon a business model that was essentially unchanged as the shop passed from one owner to the next–it was a great place to get a shave and a haircut in a friendly, informal setting. It wanted to be one thing, and do that one thing well. This week, I found myself drawn to explore a new shop in Portage Park that has a very different vision.
First Class Barber Shop, located at 3424 N. Cicero, strives to be more than just a place to get a haircut. Shop owner Bryan Barajas is a young self-taught artist with a big vision and a variety of creative talents. In 2012 he transformed this storefront, formerly a beauty salon, into a chic and very masculine space to serve as headquarters for his urban streetwear brand, barber shop services, and artistic collaborative events.
His shop décor and clothing designs draw inspiration from his involvement in the Chicago rap and hip-hop music scenes. He describes his brand’s goal as “ to deliver quality garments, along with conceptual experiences, for the 21st century Urban Metropolis and Lifestyle … for the streets, by the streets, specializing in all things trill.” He also sells his clothing designs at stashboxchicago.com
The shop’s mascot is Tiny, a handsome pitbull. Tiny is a very sweet dog, and loves attention.
I visited First Class early on a Monday, and there was a bit of a bachelor pad vibe about the space. Looked like there might have been a party at the shop over the weekend :-)
First Class Barber Shop is open Monday through Saturday, 9:00 am – 8:00pm. Stop in, and check out one young entrepreneur’s vision of a barber shop for the 21st century man.