Sorek Barbershop & Menswear Provides a Classic Combo for Modern Men
A new shop in East Austin offers tailored attire and expert grooming
By Bryan C. Parker
Photos by Drew Anthony Smith
At the corner of 6th and Chicon in East Austin, Sorek Barbershop and Menswear offers head-to-toe grooming and fashion services to a discerning clientele. Opened in August of last year, the shop occupies a space beneath the sleek angles of the new ARRIVE Hotel, designed by Baldridge Architects. On a warm Tuesday morning in July, shop founder Jason Gourd sits in a stylish teal armchair, and his business partner Jared leans over the check-in counter as the brothers explain their vision for Sorek.
“I wanted a space that had classic elements but didn’t feel like you were going back in time,” explains Jason.
Keenly interested in men’s grooming, the resurgence of barber shops in the last decade excited Jason, but he felt at some point they crossed into kitsch — “whisky barrels and suspenders,” as he puts it. By contrast, Sorek offers traditional barber services amid chic décor, befitting a modern customer. The aesthetic of dark black shelving and light natural wood trim embody the conceptual balance of classic and contemporary.
Sorek’s services mirror this mission. The carefully curated shop will employ four veteran barbers to provide basic haircuts for clients on a tight schedule as well as more attentive treatments like their Wake up Call or Organic Facial. Both services use Anthony brand skincare products and are intended to refresh and revitalize the skin. Beard trims and hot lather neck shaves are also among the shop’s menu of services. While Jason manages the barbering, Jared has spearheaded a line of menswear that includes jacketing and suiting, making Sorek a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to update their style with a refined, new look.
Close your eyes and imagine the warm Mediterranean breeze of Napoli, Italy. Scrubby splashes of green vegetation dot the gently rolling hills in a climate akin to that of South and Central Texas. That European locale serves as a prime source of inspiration for Sorek’s line of menswear. Lightweight, breathable fabrics are used for timeless designs that are casual enough for a night out and formal enough for the boardroom. Unstructured and unlined blazers provide cool comfort for all seasons. Beyond its Italian influence, the line draws inspiration from Americana styles, as with a series of denim shirts planned for release in the fall.
Not only does Sorek’s clothing line cater to the environment of its home city, but the shop also specializes in creating made-to-measure versions of their pieces.
“We do all of the measurements and pinning in store, and then we have a tailor that executes that for us,” explains Jason. The brand’s tagline — “Designed in Texas, made for you” — fits perfectly. Customers can buy pieces ready to wear off the rack, or they can have a new one cut from scratch to their exact specifications.
“There’s a lot to be said about something that’s made for you,” says Jared, who got his start in the fashion industry at 21. “Most guys are a medium because the small is too small and the large is too large, not because it looks best,” he adds. Jared sees clothes that fit exceptionally well as a means of instilling confidence in and empowering his customers. Jason agrees that “what one shirt can do for a guy’s self-esteem is huge.”
Though Sorek opened at a difficult time amid the pandemic, Jason says his business concept was planned to roll out over a matter of years rather than months and expects Sorek to see sustained longevity here in Austin. He feels at home here, where the Houston native first obtained his barber’s license and played in bands before getting serious about entrepreneurship.
“What better place to be able to start a brand than a community like this, that has not only young professionals, but creatives?” he muses. According to Jason, the shop’s “forced soft opening” ultimately worked well for a new store, allowing them to plan thoroughly and take steps forward with intention.
Moreover, after so much time at home recently, patrons see the value in a pampered salon experience more than ever before. Jason has fixed more than a few Covid haircuts, but he’s also seen a general renewed appreciation for personal care. After months working at home in sweats and a t-shirt, it feels invigorating to up the sartorial game for a night out or a return to the office.
“Look good, feel good” is a familiar mindset among the fashion-minded. With Sorek available for everything from a fresh haircut to a stylish new wardrobe, the shop provides an accessible place to refine your external presentation and your internal mindset.