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We recently held a special evening at our Elmwood Hat Shop in Berkeley, CA with the sole intentions of getting the people together. We didn’t want to just harbor a space where folks could feel comfortable with themselves and those around them. It was important that we encouraged it. Encourage people to share conversation and get to know fellow members of their community.


Sure we used some hats and whiskey as icebreakers but as often as it does happen in the hat shop, personal experience became a common bond. These are just hats. We are just people. Together, interesting things will happen.


We were happy to have Christian Eddings, Oakland resident and barber from Cultured Members of Society,  join us for a full community experience. It quickly became apparent how much the two of our professions have in common. Christian can explain:

“Oakland is home. So naturally, like any place you call home, you’ll gravitate back to it no matter how long you’ve been away. Oakland is a special place and always has been. Historically, Oakland has been a melting pot of diversity, art, culture, great food and revolution. That’s what keeps me here. Unfortunately, due to gentrification, the lives, homes and local businesses of Oakland are being affected. Revitalization and sustainability are key. It’s most important that our Oakland natives, the very people who have helped shape our city over the years are able to remain here. Community is local.


I began cutting hair because I saw a need to create a safe space for people to receive not only a great haircut, but an overall experience that’s hard to get in most barbershops. A barber tends to play a dual role as a confidant and this is still relevant today. People need an escape. Sometimes, for advice. Sometimes, they just need someone to listen. There’s an obvious connection there. It’s rare that people are engaged with their cellphones or other devices while in my chair. It’s a privilege and completely humbling to hold space for people in that way.

A good haircut can frame a person’s  mood, outfit, self-esteem and level of confidence. The quality of service matters for both myself and the client. I know that I’ve done something right when a person’s face lights up in the mirror and they know that they can walk out into the world feeling like a brand person.


Hats and haircuts are synonymous. They’re so many different styles of haircuts, just as there are hats. Hats aren’t only worn to hide your hair or lack thereof. They can also be worn to accentuate a haircut. Fedoras can be worn off the back of your head to show off a dope pompadour or fly bangs. While wearing a cap, your clean neckline peeks from under it. For some, hats are a security blanket. Even with a fresh haircut, if you’re a hat person, you’ve most likely mastered how to make them work together.”


All Photography By: Nye’ Lyn Tho