Joe Mills – Founder Joe & Co

When you really want to know who the fashion editor’s rate in the hairdressing industry, ask them who they trust when they need a trim. GQ has hailed Joe & Co the ‘Best haircut in town’, and even after nearly 20 years at the top of his game he has a slew of new projects in the pipeline.

Old-fashioned gumption gave Mills his first big break, “I’d been reading in I-D about Paul Berfoot who owned Fish. I read that he went to The Wag Club so I called him up at the end of the day on a Saturday and said ‘Hi Paul, yeah I met you last night at the Wag’ and I just blagged it and he said come in for an interview. I did a couple of haircuts and got offered a job and then I became entrenched into Soho. I was punching well above my weight but I had that swagger and belief in myself.”

Mills stayed at Fish during the height of its popularity and the hedonist excess’ of Soho in the ‘90s. At the age of 28 he broke away to away to found The Lounge Soho, “Looking back I forget the excitement of opening it but also the enormity. I forget how scary it was.”

Success-induced ennui provided the motivation for the next phrase of his career, “I hit a wall about 12 years in. I was like ‘I’m stuck in the same place, I’ve gotta do something different again. I’ve gotta push forwards again’.” Mills’ interior monologue pushed him to refocus his energy into a new kind of Barbershop; “Joe & Co the barbers shop kinda goes to me being 16 again in Margate cutting my mates hair. We opened 5 years ago this September and we were really keen on it being contemporary. I didn’t want it to hark back to something I wasn’t part of it. It needed to be clean, modern, somewhere I would go and my friends would go to get a haircut. You know we don’t all dress up in tweed with handlebar moustaches.”

Mills keeps his look as contemporary as the salon, “I love to wear dark blue jeans, grey sweats, white tees; things I’ve worn that since I first was aware of fashion.” Part of Mills’ success is his exceptional chair-side manner and down-to-earth nature, which extends to his wardrobe. “Everyday dressing is the clothes I feel most comfortable in. They identify me as me.”

Photography by Samuel Bradley
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