It’s safe to say men’s grooming pioneers and Art + Science owners David Raccuglia and Paul Wilson know a thing or two about catering to dudes: Their global leading men’s brand, American Crew, has been credited with spearheading the current barbershop movement. “American Crew played a huge role—from the attraction to the craft of grooming to the whole men’s revolution,” explains Wilson, the company’s global artistic director. “The education team behind American Crew gave us the ability to execute our involvement with that movement.”
The 27-year-old Art + Science chain jumped on the barbering bandwagon in 2012, adding a barbershop within its existing Wicker Park salon location, followed by one stand-alone shop in Logan Square where the owners have devoted special nooks to their love of photography, using samples from their own collections, campaigns, men’s hair and fashion images, and vintage art. (They celebrated the addition of their third shop, nestled within their West Loop salon, in September 2016.)
The foundation of the shops is education, and barbers must undertake a rigorous training program and graduate from American Crew’s education program before seeing a day on the floor; they then study continually throughout their tenure. “Thanks to our American Crew roots, our commitment to education and the integrity of our work have been paramount to our success,” explains Wilson, citing his barbers’ ability to assess the right haircut for the right guy. The shops’ barbers not only fully understand their craft, but they also understand masculine design and the psychology of their male clientele.
The Art + Science team can also claim the title of “Good Samaritan”: Members donate services and participate in community events to raise funds, awareness and support for causes through the salon’s charitable arm, Art and Soul. “We’re proud to make a positive social impact through our services,” says Wilson. “It’s so important to use the success we’ve had in this business [to give back].”