All posts by Jillian RISSMAN-SHERR

Virtuosity of Persistence – The Skate Subculture of LA

Skateboarding Is About Taking a Deep Breath and Exhaling Into Your True Self

If the spirit of Southern California were to be distilled into an object, it’s not hard to imagine it being a skateboard. The pastime was born and bred on the streets of Los Angeles, and is as indigenous to the region as the state flower’s bright orange poppies that spring up between cracks in the sidewalk.

For Los Angelenos, skateboarding is more than a sport, more than a pastime and much more than a means of getting from point A to B. It’s an entire culture, populated by youthfully-spirited humans chasing the essence of freedom while trying to land their next trick.

Whether determinedly pounding the pavement to master a new skill, or cheering on friends from the sidelines, skateboarders like Alex are all about comradery. He understands the talent, drive and persistence required in a way that outsiders simply can’t fathom. And this city’s good vibes and positive energy have given him the opportunity to pursue his passion in an unprecedented fashion.

“Skating has just become such an important part of my life that I don’t think I could live without it,” he explains. “It’s like a lens that once you look through, you can’t see the world any other way.”

He’s learned that heart, authenticity and intuition are key to thriving and earning the respect of his fellow skateboarders. This resilient yet laid-back subculture has an everything goes mentality. The focus required to execute and land a challenging trick keeps practitioners in the here and now—it’s all about the present moment.

Eric Koston, for his innovation and clean style; LA native Paul Rodriguez, whose turned this city into a personal playground; and Tommy Guerrero, for his easy-to-watch rhythm that is an extension of the jazzy and free-forming music he writes, are a few of the abundant skateboarding icons of this community. With personalities as divergent as their approach, what brings these visionaries together is their fearlessness and their ability to take a fall, get back up and keep on going.

“You have to be down to eat shit and you have to be down to fail,” Alex echoes.

For the skateboarding community, their outward appearance is a direction reflection of their inner workings. There isn’t right or wrong way to groom, there is only being true to yourself, whether that translates into a shaved head or long dreadlocks. It’s about ease, going with the flow and being comfortable in your own skin.

With Venice as its birthplace and constant companion, the streets are the ultimate home of skateboarders, who visualize and use the terrain like no one else. They see potential where others see a bench; they see obstacles to manipulate where others see a wall. When it’s time to take a break, you can find them spinning their wheels at Swingers Diner near Fairfax Boulevard and iconic skate store Supreme, or at Pizzanista in downtown LA, where legends like Steve Berra, Rob Dyrdek and Keith Hufnagel originally set up shop.

“It’s like we are worried about this outside appearance and putting up this wall of who we have to be to be accepted,” said Austin, a local skater descendant from an original Z-Boy. “It’s BS. Just be true to yourself and not try to be someone else, because it’s just a waste of a life.”

To join us on this exploration of LA’s subcultures, visit www.baxterofcalifornia.com in addition to following us @baxterofca.

 

Boldly Conceding to Friction – The Surf Culture of LA

Surfing’s State of Flow Sets the Tone for a Life Lived True

There’s an inescapable ebb and flow to life, and for some humans, the pull of this current is so strong it becomes a part of the very essence of their soul. They find themselves drawn to the sea, where nature’s pulse beats strongest and the cyclical orbit of our existence is most evident.

A surfer by any other name, these salt-water explorers innately understand the yin and yang of our earth, internalizing this philosophy within their character. While simultaneously thirsting to discover the next wave, what matters isn’t how they get there, but that the ride be a worthwhile adventure. Their respect for nature and fellow surfers translates into a sense of peace with themselves and their environment. It’s an open-ended frame of reference that enables this community to find a Zen-like balance between harnessing and liberating the ocean’s power.

The pursuit of surfing is often compared to meditation—by helping to center the brain, it brings riders to a place where they can tap into the primal absolution of the present moment. It’s also a creative pursuit, with a variety of styles and approaches, and the diversity of Los Angeles’ beaches give members of this local subculture plenty of room to explore.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice testing the traditional waters of Venice Beach, an expert shredding up El Porto’s consistency, or a long boarder cruising Malibu’s Surfrider Beach, each time a surfer paddles out they’re conquering an intrinsic fear and embracing a life lived true. The freedom and release that comes with being at one with nature is unlike any experience on this planet.

“Life lived true means truly being fulfilled by what you do with your time,” says Todd, who spends his days teaching others how to ride the salty seas of Los Angeles. “Whether you’re someone who works a lot and has lots of responsibilities, or is always going hard and living carefree, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Your time is precious, don’t regret what you do with it.”

For Todd, surfing is a transformative expression of his self. Thanks to predecessors like Kelly Slater—perhaps the most well-known professional as the youngest and oldest man to ever win the World Surf League Championships—and Herbie Fletcher—the original LA surfing rockstar—chasing waves as a way of life is more than just a pipe dream.

It’s a simple existence, one governed by all that is low-maintenance, comfortable and functional. Their selfcare is without materialism, lending their effortless look an intangible air of casual cool. Flip flops and boardshorts are key, ensuring they’re ready to hit the waves when a swell comes in. It’s all about a laid-back grooming routine that is natural and goes with the flow of their life.

As Baxter of California Lead Stylist and NAHA 2017 Men’s Hairstylist of the Year Whitney VerMeer can attest, there’s a beauty and raw element to surf styling that has the ability to turn heads with its understated ethos.

“It was easy to appreciate the fresh approach and styling of this Baxter of California shoot since it’s very much in line with what I do,” she explains. “I work with a lot of career models, but my favorite projects are the ones where I cast people from Instagram or someone I pass on the street who has an interesting or intriguing look.”

Just as the ocean resists structural definition, so too does this Los Angeles subculture. Freedom of expression, freedom from judgement and freedom from rules of gender, race and religion—these are the universal truths of surfing.

To join us on this exploration of LA’s subcultures, visit www.baxterofcalifornia.com in addition to following us @baxterofca.

 

Authenticity Is a Universal Truth – The Exploration of LA’s Subcultures

Los Angeles’ Inspired Subcultures Create a ‘Life Lived True’ Fabric for the City’s Millennials

The city of Los Angeles defies definition. It refuses to be hemmed in by boundaries of gender, race, language or image. Forget any stereotypes—to truly understand this place is to know that there is no one Los Angeles. There is but a multitude of plenty, which gives the humans who call this city home limitless possibilities to live the truest versions of their selves both inside and out.

Above all else, Los Angeles is a beacon of authenticity—welcoming creative individuals into its fold, where together they form a diverse collective of unique, region-specific subcultures. Baxter of California’s origin story is one that could only have taken root and flourished in such an environment. From the skate and music scene, to surfing, art and indie to name a few, our philosophy of grooming as an act of self-expression goes hand in hand with the ethos of these lifestyles. To groom is to take care of one’s hair, skin and body; to be an individual within one of these larger communities is to take care of one’s genuine identity.

But it is not to be an island. Members of LA’s subcultures are certainly intent on standing out from the crowd but they’re also thrilled to be part of a community, giving and receiving inspiration in clothing, hairstyles, music and art, as well as giving a helping hand and a real smile when it matters most. There’s a yin and yang to being a Los Angeleno—while the influencers of today, spearheaded by millennials, hold hard and true to their distinct spirits, a sense of belonging and togetherness is as important to their identities and creative mojos.

Within these communities, members are drawn to each other not with the goal to mirror each other, but rather become a complementary reflection of what it looks like to lead differing versions of a “Life Lived True.” For each of the subcultures featured in Baxter of California’s “Life Lived True” campaign, fearlessness, persistence, expression, individuality and creation reign supreme. A willingness to look at the haters and rejection in the face, and to invite them into your life in order to learn and grow is a uniting feature. While their creative focus, inspirations, ideologies and aesthetic may vary, the chase of a singular dream remains the same.

Los Angeles may defy categorization, but that doesn’t mean it is without foundation. The city’s spirit is rooted in its niche subcultures, where transplants and locals alike find their version of home, which need not be a tangible place. Because what matters is what you’ll find at the core of each of these modern versions of community—a desire to be authentic and Live Life True.

To join us on this exploration of LA’s subcultures, visit www.baxterofcalifornia.com in addition to following us @baxterofca.

Father’s Day Doesn’t Have to be Boring

I (Kinda) Love You, Dad

This year, we’ve created a series of fun, cheeky greeting cards for the Dad in your life.

Our Father’s Day cards were printed with the heritage of Los Angeles in mind; we partnered with Aardvark Letterpress as the family-owned shop embarks on its 50th anniversary this year. Aardvark is known for producing the highest quality letterpress printing which offers an expression of personal style and identity.

These complimentary cards can be found on baxterofcalifornia.com, Baxter Finley Barber & Shop, or at your local Baxter of California retailer. And to keep things interesting, one of three available card designs will be randomly selected and included with each purchase while supplies last—which mischievous messages will you get?

Watch how they’re made:

A Life Lived True: The Evolving Cultural Movement in LA

Focused on the intersection between individuality and community—a driving force behind the ethos of the city’s millennials

Los Angeles is more than sunshine, palm trees, and the Hollywood hills; it’s a state of mind that extends beyond geography while remaining firmly anchored to its trailblazer origins. It’s a city with a zeitgeist that inspires its residents to embrace what makes them authentic individuals. But, by giving them the freedom to pursue their dreams on their own terms, it has indelibly created a thriving culture populated with, and driven by, like-minded millennials.

Home to Baxter of Califonia since 1965, Los Angeles is living, breathing example that identity need not be prescribed or limited by categories of race, religion or gender. It isn’t about who or how to be—it’s about following your own internal compass and embracing a “Life Lived True.”

Through the continuation of its “Life Lived True” campaign that launched last year, Baxter of California is now delving even deeper into its exploration of modern masculinity—one that is inclusive of all expressions of masculinity. Next up, the brand turns its lens towards what defines, inspires and motivates a cross section of the many unique subcultures that together create the millennial ethos of LA: skate, surf, art, music and indie.

   

Beginning with a series of portraits and videos shot around the city, from iconic local spot Jimmy’s Burgers to infamous Sunset Boulevard to revitalized Downtown LA, this year’s exploration of “Life Lived True” shines a light on the aesthetics of these ambitious subcultures through five of the city’s real-life creatives. With the expertise of 16-year barbering veteran and industry-innovator Julius “Julius Caesar” Arriola (@juliuscaesar) highlighting each subject’s style, Baxter of California’s core belief that grooming is an act of self-expression was clear and present.

“I took the time to really try to understand the subcultures that Baxter of California’s ‘Live Lived True’ campaign is representing,” Julius explains. “With these looks, I made sure not to alter the individuals away from their genuine ‘anything and everything goes’ lifestyles, but instead to bring their strong, unique features to the forefront. Nothing is worse than style that reads off forced—you can see the discomfort in it all. How one chooses to present themselves to the world through grooming is definitely a prominent expression of freedom and life lived true.”

Take, for instance, Rodney (@boydeus), a musician who Julius dubbed the “Sophisticated Jimi.” Even though he’s lived around the globe, his path inevitably landed him in Los Angeles, a city that’s given him the opportunity to chase his dreams in what he considers the big leagues. While staying true to his roots—which include a fashion-sense indebted to his grandfather’s closet—he’s learned to take rejection in stride—a unifying trait of LA’s aspiring music community. Even though he may be doing his own thing his own way, he also knows that when he needs help, the city’s creative community will have his back.

We will continue to explore the campaign sub-communities of Los Angeles through a series of pop ups beginning June 2018 that will feature complimentary barbering and skincare services for men and women.

To join us and be the first to know about local events, visit www.baxterofcalifornia.com in addition to following us @baxterofca.

 

Get The Look: David Beckham

Many professional athletes are just as fun to look at as they are to root for. Enter David Beckham… if there’s one guy who knows how to make his fans swoon, whether it was on the field in his heyday, on the red carpet, or in the comfort of his own home, it’s Beckham.

Thanks to his ever-changing hairstyle, he’s got a look to satisfy every pallet—or at least has at one point or another over the last 20-something years. Into man buns? Check. Beckham pretty much brought the look mainstream  when he debuted it back in 2003. What about the side part? Check.  Mohawk, cornrows, faux-hawk? Check, check & check.

Choosing the “Beckham look” that’s a unanimous favorite is as hard for us as it presumably has been for him, so we turned to our master barbers at Baxter Finley Barber & Shop to see which styles they think he’s pulled off best and get their advice for achieving the look at home.

Beckham’s Best Looks (according to the experts):

1. Long on the top, short on the sides

Depending on what side you like to part your hair, having a long top haircut allows you to change up your look. Try a pompadour with Clay Pomade or Hard Cream Pomade, a sleek back or side look with Hard Water Pomade, or a low hold messier look with Cream Pomade.

2. Medium Length Hair with a beachy, lived-in look

Want to look effortlessly good? Use the Clay Effect Style Spray to get that lived-in look that shows that you can be stylish and have fun at the same time. This is great for both medium straight or wavy hair.

3. Shorter Sides, Spiked Top

A fun, youthful look that’s definitely making a comeback. Use the Clay Pomade to take your haircut to new heights.

4. The Buzz Cut

When you want to have a low-maintenance “wake up and get out the door” kind of look, you can’t go wrong with a buzz cut. As your hair starts to grow back, use Cream Pomade or Grooming Cream keep those hairs in check.

 

 

Here’s the Verdict on Man Buns

The man bun—a look we sort of never thought would last, something reserved for guys who also never leave home without a leather jacket, a motorcycle, and lots of rings. But it only seems to be getting more widespread. It’s true that the “ungroomed” look for men’s grooming has been in for a while, but when even Groupon rolls out a $10 clip-in bun for men, is it safe to say that this trend has come undone? Have we reached a saturation point as a culture or will it not be long until dudes start going full Castaway? Listen here, Wilson.

Are they still cool?

Since David Beckham debuted the look that brought ’em mainstream back in 2003, we’ve since seen man buns crop up on a slew of Hollywood stars, athletes, cool bros, new dads, et al—Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jared Leto, Bradley Cooper—the list goes on. A few of these high-profile man bunners have since snipped their top knots, some are just beginning their journey.  El Segundo, California-based toymaker Mattel recently announced they’re releasing a version of Ken (Barbie’s boyfriend, for those unfamiliar) with—you guessed it—a man bun. It’s safe to say that these buns ain’t going nowhere. At least for now.

Trends aside, what really matters is what works best for you. If you’ve got medium-length to long hair—whether you’re trying to grow it out, or life got in the way and you skipped a few haircuts—you know that hair, too, can sometimes get in the way. Even if you’re feeling the longer, shaggier new you—your neck gets hot, your hair flies in your face, or maybe you just want to mix up your look once in a while. We say, if you’re going to take a dip in these murky man bun waters, do it right, and keep it low-maintenance. It’s actually pretty simple, so long as you’re not stealing all your girlfriend’s hair ties. A few things to keep in mind, bun brethren:

What About Washing?

It really comes down to personal preference—some bunners swear by once daily routine, while others will tell you they’ll go upwards of 2 weeks at a time without washing their hair (gross). We don’t advise this, particularly if you’re a gym-goer (if you use the gym for more than just a social activity, chances are you’re going to sweat… and if you sweat, you’re going to want to wash your hair, trust us). Whatever your preference, you’re going to want use a 1-2 shampoo + conditioner regimen.

A good, nutrient-enriched shampoo will repair and cleanse without drying, while a coconut-infused conditioner will help deliver natural nutrients essential for healthy hair growth and act as a remedy for dry already hair and scalp.

Do You Need Any Product?

Something everyone deals with after washing their hair is frizz. If you have thick, wavy or curly hair and want a natural-feeling man bun, a little grooming cream with light hold is your best bet—throw it in while your hair’s still damp and it’ll take care of the frizz no problem. For a more gritty, lived-in look (regardless of hair type), you’ll want to opt for a texturizing spray, which can be used pre- or post-blow drying.

Don’t Pull Too Tight

Ideally the man bun is more about function than fashion, so it should definitely be comfortable and easy to wear. Gather the hair tightly enough to stay secured in a bun, but don’t pull it so tight that your sore scalp will be paying for it later.

Find a Midpoint

Placement is important. The eventual bun should sit somewhere on the back-center of your head. Make sure to get any stray hairs at the bottom that can tend to fall out and grab them into your hand. You can also tame the strays with a finishing spray

But, how?

To actually complete your man bun, pull your hair back into a mid-high ponytail, wrap the hair tie around twice, then on the third pass simply tuck the end into the band. All there is to it! Now get out there—you’re ready for a full man bun day.

Grooming to Live Life True

Los Angeles is a town of dreamers and dream chasers. Come for the weather; stay to find yourself. This sprawling city encompasses people of all different backgrounds and identities, lifestyles and hustles, and it’s the only place we know of where driving an hour in any direction can land you at the beach, the mountains, or in the hectic center of it all.

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Here at Baxter of California we know that grooming products are a tool for living. Since its birth in Los Angeles in 1965, Baxter has sought to be a part of your journey, never dictate which path you take. Rather than cater to trends with a short shelf life, we focus on producing simple, useful, quality products that bring out the individual—to showcase who you are as you experience life. Our new campaign celebrates Angelenos who are living life true. Trying to be something or someone you aren’t is exhausting — Life Lived True is our unfiltered depiction of modern masculinity grounded in California culture. What defines modern masculinity? Nowadays it’s not so one-dimensional. It’s everything and it’s nothing; “masculine” is whatever it means to you. It’s being real, being honest with yourself, celebrating who you are and embracing those unique qualities that make you you. “Modern masculinity is about more than just your physical appearance—it’s an expression of self that is non-binary, gender-agnostic, and blind to race or religion; a way of living bravely,” Global Head of Marketing Yasmin Dastmalchi expounds. “Venturing beyond the ordinary is in the brand’s DNA.”

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We teamed up with photographer Ben Grieme to introduce Life Lived True in the city that Baxter of California has called home for over 50 years. The series finds its inspiration in real people cast from the streets of Los Angeles, all with little-to-no modeling experience. From a professional fencer, to the brand’s own female barber, to an LA-native who quit his desk job, packed up and moved from a 1-bedroom apartment into a van parked at Venice Beach, with nothing but his surfboard and a bag of clothes—the diverse subjects are bound together through their embrace of authenticity. The portraits, amplified by the scenic backdrop of the city—the urban sprawl next to undeniable natural beauty—result in something quintessentially LA that’s true to the spirit and culture of this city and its population. With their urge to push beyond social constructs, unhindered by stereotypes or expectations, Angelenos live their lives according to their own rules.

The independent spirit of California culture is also illustrated by the subjects’ unique styles and grooming habits. We enlisted the help of Baxter of California Lead Stylist, Whitney VerMeer, to help tell these stories and convey the fresh approach. “I work with a lot of career models, but my favorite projects are the ones where I cast people from Instagram or someone I pass on the street who has an interesting look. There’s something really beautiful about watching a person transform behind camera and see their confidence blossom throughout the process.”

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Life Lived True is about embracing the perfection in imperfection—unafraid to be true to who you are, out here living and not caught up with what people think. Baxter of California provides the everyday essentials that you wear out into the world, empowering you to find your true stride and make your own mark.

Celebrating Dads Who Live Life True

Father’s Day is a big deal for us here at Baxter of California. Much like grooming, it’s rooted in tradition. And while different cultures and nationalities have their own unique traditions when it comes to celebrating their Dads, every one of them has that one thing in common – whether it’s in LA, throughout the country, or across the world, and that’s celebrating Dad’s that #livelifetrue.

This year, we sat down with lifestyle blogger and GQ Insider Francis Kenneth (@franciskenneth) – a long-time friend of Baxter of California – to learn a little about his relationship with his Dad, and how they celebrate Father’s Day together.

 

BAXTER: Tell us about your relationship with your Dad.

FRANCIS: Two words: TOUGH LOVE. (For some context, I’m Asian, if you can’t tell from the photos. My Dad emigrated with his family from the Philippines to the US). As the oldest son of four children, I was/am the guinea pig and role model for my siblings. Growing up, I was always annoyed that he was strict (in comparison to my friends’ American parents), and would “micro-manage” everything I did from school to sports, Boy Scouts to music, choice of friends to girls I dated. Now that I’m older, and despite not being able to fulfill his own dream for me, I’ve come to realize that this was his way of supporting my passions. After all, those things in-n-out of school were my choice on how I wanted to spend my time, and I cannot be more appreciative of his guidance on all of it (even when he didn’t approve of them). After all, I wouldn’t be who and where I am today without him, which also means, I wouldn’t be here for this Q&A. If you’re reading this, thanks Dad!

 

BAXTER: What is favorite activity to do to with your dad?

FRANCIS: LAKER GAMES!!!

 

BAXTER: What do you admire most about your dad?

FRANCIS: Hard work and generosity. He sacrificed his own hobbies and interests to do whatever it took to make sure there was food on the table, clothes on our back, a roof over our head, and then some. HE NEVER ASKED FOR HELP (well, with the exception of my Mom, of course). I know that all sounds pretty basic, but this meant and still means the world to me.

 

BAXTER: What has your dad taught you about grooming and style

FRANCIS: In all honesty, he’s the reason why I even care about grooming and style. My Dad was a stud back in the day, and he made sure to pass on the importance of appearances to me at a very early age.

 

BAXTER: How has your Dad’s style influenced yours?

FRANCIS: If I had to narrow it down to one thing, it would be to be the best dressed for the occasion. Basically, dress accordingly but be the best at it. That still resonates in my personal style today.

 

BAXTER: What are some traditions you share with your Dad?

FRANCIS: Food and basketball. I guess you could say these are “new” traditions as they haven’t been passed down over the generations, but this has been our “father and son time” for as long as I can remember. I mean, the Lakers won the NBA championship the year I was born, so it only makes sense.

 

BAXTER: How do you typically celebrate Father’s Day?

FRANCIS: Dinner and NBA Finals!

 

BAXTER: What do you typically gift your Dad for Father’s Day?

FRANCIS: Ties (a Father’s Day must), grooming products, and/or cologne.

 

BAXTER: Do you think he’ll like the Better With Age Set?

FRANCIS: The better question is which father wouldn’t like the Better With Age Set? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

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Introducing the Baxter x Fancy Barbershop Series

We’ve teamed up with FANCY (@fancy) to bring you into our world with a taste of what some of today’s biggest names in tech, entertainment, and sports talk about in the barber chair.

In our first episode, we’re joined by Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and entrepreneur Ryan Leslie (@ryanleslie), who has not sat on a barber chair in a long time because he cuts his own hair. Baxter of California barber Ricky (@lordsticky) and Ryan talk about fashion, Ryan’s ventures in music and tech, and what modern masculinity means in his world.

Watch the video below and stay tuned for the next in the series. #lifelivedtrue