The career of a barber has been revolutionized. Men are just as particular about their haircuts as women, and long, tangled, surfer locks are a thing of the past. Barbershops are popping up all over Vancouver, and men are taking their hair more and more seriously.
With barbershops come barbers themselves, and Marvin Soriano is one to chase after. Soriano saw the demand for fresh fades from an early age when he started cutting his friends’ hair in the schoolyard and he’s been sought after ever since. Now operating the WSDMCLUB Barbershop, he’s had topline clients roll through (Idriss Elba, Ghostface Killah & members of Bruno Mars’ band, to name a few) and is committed to sharing the love of his craft through the Vancouver Barbering Collective that he co-founded.
How did this become your career?
I saw how many people needed me at school. They just kept asking me every 2 or 3 weeks, and it just didn’t stop from there. I didn’t want to become a barber at first, but seeing how many people needed me every day was fulfilling, and I knew I wanted to pursue it further.
What is your favourite part of your job?
That I am able to make somebody’s day by just cutting their hair. I am able to talk to them for 30-40 min and just share conversation with them. My inspiration is making people happy – I really see that through my haircuts.
Tell me about the tools that you use.
The tools are really important for all barbers because it’s a craft that’s about millimeters, you want to have the right tool for how you want to cut hair. Every barber’s tools feel different in everybody else’s hands and being specific on how you want your clippers definitely shows in the haircuts that you do. My style is a lot shorter, so I go with a lot of shorter and sharper clippers. You have to have a few of them because every clipper has its own little measurement; I have to find a specific clipper for each job.
How do you come up with new, cutting-edge styles?
By collaborating with my client. They have an idea in their head and will communicate it with me so we can figure it out together. Everybody has their own style so I learn everyday by learning what they want.
What’s your favourite style to cut?
I would say the fade. it’s very classic and will never go out of style. It represents me: short, clean, very sharp, timeless
What’s the next trend?
I think it’s about being different – nothing is sticking anymore, it’s about people taking the risk to try something brand new is what’s in.
What was the turning point to bring you where you are today?
I was working [from home] a lot and every time I went into a barber shop it was only for 2-3 months and I realized it wasn’t for me. I felt like coming back home because it was my rules, and I could have the environment that I wanted. Everything I needed from my dad, just to fix anything in the house, he would do any renovation, he would knock down a wall if I needed him to, put in a sink if I needed him to, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him because he allowed my dreams to become a physical thing. Now I can entertain people the way that I want, whether it’s the PlayStation, computer, sports on tv, or the music that I want to play.
How did you come up your name?
My friends and I started a brand in grade 10, and the barbershop is a part of it. We wanted our brand to represent figuring out who you are as a person and how to ‘be yourself’. We went to a private school and had a uniform, and wanted this to be our uniform every day after high school.
The brand was originally the acronym ‘w.is.d.o.m’, which means “what is done open minded”. When we graduated we wanted to mature the brand, and decided to take the vowels out of the word to rename it as WSDMCLUB. Wisdom is something we strive for, and we know we need knowledge and experience to find true wisdom.
You’ve cut some well-known names. How did it come about, and how was the experience?
My first experience cutting a celebrity was when I cut Ghostface Killah from the Wu-Tang Clan. When I got nervous I would just remind myself that I was just there to cut his hair and if a conversation grew, it was a bonus. I ended up partying with the crew after the show and had breakfast with them in the morning.
I also cut Flo Rida, Dave from Chromeo, Cabbie from TSN, Mackwop (Schoolboy Q’s DJ), Bruno Mars’ Band, YG’s crew. My first a-list celebrity was Idris Elba.
What acts as your inspiration?
A friend of mine just passed, and he was a barber who picked up barbering because of me. I learned a lot from him through his short life because I didn’t realize that being myself and doing that for others could mean a lot of somebody. He was like a little brother to me, I could push this guy to limits that he probably wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t there for him, so right now he’s my biggest inspiration. Getting the shop, he was going to be the first employee that I hired and I’m going to do this for him.
Follow Marvin’s WSDMCLUB Barber Shop @barbermarv