Antique touch at Penang barbershop

GEORGE TOWN : Stepping into a small barbershop that is squeezed into a crevice between buildings in the bustling city of the Unesco world heritage site here will take you back to a bygone era.

A number of classic and rare vintage hairdressing tools, that have their own sentimental value to Verlarz Classic Barbershop owner S.Singgara Vella, are neatly kept in glass display frames.

The 47-year-old man, fondly known as Vella, said that all the antique items are from his personal collection that also serves as an attraction to customers patronising his shop.

“The hairdressing tools are mostly made before the 1950s. There are some that are still functioning well, such as hair cutting machines, shavers and hair sprays, in fact, many customers are attracted to the collection,” he told Bernama when met at his premises near Lebuh Ah Quee, here, recently.

S. Singgara Vella cleaning a glass frame stacked with barber hardware at his Verlarz Classic Barbershop on Ah Quee Street in George Town, April 24, 2021. — Bernama pic
S. Singgara Vella cleaning a glass frame stacked with barber hardware at his Verlarz Classic Barbershop on Ah Quee Street in George Town, April 24, 2021. — Bernama pic

Vella said that most of items in the collection had once belonged to his late father-in-law, who was also a barber.

“The collection has a total of 60 antique hair cutting tools, including manual hair clippers, hair-dryers, hairbrushes, razors, leather razor sharpening tools and hairdressing bags that are almost a century old, besides old photos of barbershops from various countries.

“There are also collections that I bought from local antique shops as well as overseas – for example, an 85-year-old Takara hairdressing seat from Japan that is still sturdy, which is regarded as the most valuable item in the collection,” he said.

Vella said that in Malaysia there are only eight Takara seats left that can still be used, and he hoped that one day he could open a gallery displaying antique hairdressing equipment from around the globe.

Sharing his experience as a hairdresser, Vella said that he had worked as a lorry driver for 30 years before venturing into the business.

“I decided to improve my life by learning hairdressing skills from my late father-in-law, before making it a career that led to the opening of Verlarz Classic Barbershop in 2003,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vella said that, although his income has dropped drastically over the last few months due to the Covid -19 pandemic, he is grateful to be able to sustain his business.

“I am grateful that customers still come to my shop, particularly when school starts and during festive seasons,” he said.

BERNAMA / MALAY MAIL

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