David Raccuglia, founder of American Crew. 

David Raccuglia, founder of American Crew.

American Crew put men’s grooming products on the map almost 30 years ago when the brand was founded by David Raccuglia, a hair stylist, salon owner, renowned photographer and entrepreneur.

Here, Raccuglia shares how he and American Crew continue to evolve in an ever-changing industry.

American Crew Origins

The Beginning: I like to call myself a product of the ’70s. That’s when I really feel the inspirational part of my life took place. I was just graduating from high school, and I felt like Bob, my barber at the time, was the coolest and most fashionable man I’ve ever met. Though he was a tough guy on the exterior, he was always happy and never without a smile on his face. I drew the connection that his love for his work and the creative field was what really inspired him and made him happy. His passion drew me to the craft of barbering and men’s grooming.

Why American Crew? There was a lack of professional men’s grooming products on the market, and I knew there had to be a better offering than the limited selection of drugstore products and run-of-the-mill wax pomades. So with the knowledge gathered from my styling experience as a barber, along with my passion for filling that gap in the market, I launched American Crew in 1994 with just six products.

Barbers, stylists and professionals have not only helped build our brand from day one, but they were—and they continue to be—the main inspiration for everything we do, from the products we develop to the marketing assets, to education materials, and everything in between.

The Latest and Greatest

Matte Clay Spray: This new product is great because it’s an oil-absorbing, texturizing spray that provides a strong medium hold and matte look—and lasts all day long. It’s a spin-off of our original Matte Clay puck, which has the same hero ingredient—Kaolin Clay—but the new spray helps control frizz, adds thickness, and enhances natural hair waves.

Stylists will love it because it has all the benefits of a clay with long-lasting hold, while still adding volume and texture for a quick and easy-to-use styling routine. I personally love that Matte Clay Spray’s lightweight formula doesn't add any weight or shine to hair. It’s ideal for creating a laid back, relaxed look, while still providing a clean, styled finish.

A Whole New World: The barbering industry has changed drastically in the last 10 years and I’ve loved watching it evolve. In the ’80s, ’90s, and even into the early 2000s the craft of barbering was quite subdued. But now we are seeing a resurgence of talent and old-school techniques in barbershops all over the world. It truly feels like an old tradition that has been modernized.

For American Crew specifically, we’re a brand that started in the mid ’90s, which is a decade more prevalent than ever with all the throwback trends out in full force. We were able to merge precision cutting and modern barbering, and continued to evolve with these trends so you can service any kind of hair from editorial to behind-the-chair.

I truly believe that the barbering industry is better than ever as we see this beautiful balance of old barbering traditions with a twist of modernized techniques.

Photo Finish: My photography came after I launched American Crew. I didn’t start being a photographer until the late ’90s. I’ve had always loved it, and even had a dark room when I was young.

After the brand launched, I did some photography for American Crew. But it was always hair first, photography second, making sure I was shooting to get the best representation of a hairstyle.

My aim was to separate American Crew from the pack by making our campaigns look different through hair photography. Eventually, photography became a passion in itself and I started working outside of the hair industry, shooting fashion campaigns and portraits, and delved into the true tangent of a real photographer. Since then, I have had numerous books published along with many great celebrations in photography.

Check out American Crew’s tproducts here.


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