Tariq Howes is an award-winning male hairstylist, particularly renowned for his work on Afro hair. With over fifteen years of experience, Tariq has paved his way in the industry, achieving insurmountable successes and accolades along the way. His innovative and groundbreaking work is also largely inspired by who he is as a person; with his mixed background encouraging him to diversify and work on styling all hair types and textures.
We were lucky enough to talk to Tariq about his upbringing, his career, and his successes, discovering how he made it to where he is today.
Since October is Black History Month, can you tell us what it was like to grow up with a mixed background of Welsh, Somali, Egyptian, and Jamaican?
“My heritage has always been quite a complex thing for me. When I was growing up, there was a period of time where I didn’t really know much about my heritage. I remember my Mother telling me that my Nan was Egyptian, and that my Grandfather was Black, which surprised me. I didn’t know my Father for a while and when I eventually met him, I discovered that he is half Black, half Arab. My Father then educated me on my heritage and family history, which is quite unique, even today. Although, I think people forget that Cardiff does have one of the oldest migrations of Black and brown people in the UK because of events like the coal trade.
With my Mother being white Welsh and my Father’s mix, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t necessarily look Somali or Jamaican. So, to make things easier to explain, I used to tell people that I was just Arab. However, as I grew older I began to think: why am I leaving out this massive part of who I am? It is who I am at the end of the day.”
What led you to kick-start your super successful career in barbering?
“When I left school, I spent the whole summer hanging out with my mates, or staying up late on MSN. Until, one morning I remember my Mum coming into my room. She had a serious face on and said that, instead of sitting around doing nothing, I needed to get a job now that I had left school. So, I went down to the local job centre and saw an advertisement for an apprentice at a barbershop. When I was young, I used to spend a lot of time in barbershops having my own hair done and I got the impression that it would be an easy, sociable job. Boy, was I wrong! But that apprentice job changed my life forever. I fell in love with the trade, and I’ve never looked back since.”
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
“Well, I’d say my two beautiful kids, Khalil and Jaykub. But, if we’re talking about career highlights, I’d probably say that signing for the major electrical brand Babyliss is one of my biggest achievements to date. To have a company of that level notice me and want me to be a part of what they are doing, is a crazy feeling. Also, the work I’ve done for Zara, and the amazing brands like Dolce and Gabbana and Fred Perry, have been massive achievements in my career so far.”
Do you have a favourite person, or brand, that you have worked with?
“My favourite people to work with are my mentor, Jody Taylor, who is a boss in men’s hair! Also, my team at Avenue Male Grooming, Marvin, Jaiden and Reuben. They are like family to me.”