KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — When you think of a barber, your mind probably goes to that iconic swirling red, white and blue pole. Over the years, that take on the classic barber shop we know and love has evolved, but some hairdressers say it's for the better.
Being a barber isn't what it used to be. That's according to Tyler Trotter, the co-organizer of the Tennessee Barber Expo in Knoxville.
"The industry has advanced so fast, and I mean it's just exploding, and it really has ignited a passion in young barbers," Trotter explained.
The Tennessee Barber Expo hopes to shine a light on the industry's past while showing off new techniques.
Chris Bossio, an educator and founder of Tomb 45, knows the past plays an important role in the barber world today.
"We really love the history of it, but it's also been stagnant for quite so long because people don't understand how big of an industry it really is," Bossio noted.
Some veteran barbers, like Billy Holloway at Razor Sharp Barber Shop in Knoxville, have watched the highs and lows.
"It's quote un-quote popular to be a barber. You know, it's a trendy thing," Holloway admitted.
But, he knows the focus is still on the client, not the fad.
"It's one of those things no matter what phase it's in it's always going to stray back to the mean," Holloway said.
So why are more young people trimming their way into the business? Bossio said it's simple-- independence.
"The idea that you can have fun in the barber shop doing what you love doing, making a living doing it, I mean that's attractive for a lot of young people," Bossio admitted.
The younger generation is taking notes of what the classic barber shop has done for years and adding their own spin.
"They like their way, and they're great with that, but I also think the new generation of barbers really appreciates what they do too," Bossio noted.
Bossio explained the older generation shaved the way, but barbering is a profession that will never go out of style
"It's endless opportunity," Bossio said. "Everybody needs a haircut. There's way too many people that grow hair and not enough barbers."
Organizers at the expo said they are planning to make this an annual event in Knoxville and are excited to see how much bigger and better it will be in years to come.