Gymshark has opened the doors to its new ‘Deload” pop-up barbershop for the week, where the gymwear giant is providing a “non-judgemental safe space” for men to open up, offload and have a chat with professional mental health-trained barbers, while receiving a free trim.

Located in London’s Shoreditch, Gymshark will be hosting panel talks across two evenings, with representatives from Calm, Lions Barbers, Curfew Grooming, and Gymshark athletes and influencers, who will be covering topics such as “Be the Mate You’d Want” and “Building Real Strength”.

A Gymshark spokesperson expressed that “We want to talk about men’s mental health. We don’t talk about it enough – an awful lot of men are struggling.”

They explained that this is what inspired the retailer to launch Gymshark Deload, an innovative mental health initiative platform, which encourages young people to focus on their mental as well as their physical wellbeing. It provides content, stories and advice from wellbeing experts and medical professionals.

“We found that people talk to their barbers more than their doctors, than mental health professionals,” the spokesperson added.

“So we found this to be an authentic way to create something branded and work with Calm to make a difference for men’s mental health.”

Gymshark didn’t rule out further, more permanent, initiatives with the spokesperson saying it “definitely wants to continue to conversation”.

Gymshark says that retailers need to step up to the plate to ensure mental health isn’t swept under the carpet. Alongside the schedule talks, the barbershop will also host panel “intimate discussions” allowing people to open up.

The spokesperson explains that men struggle with opening up to friends and that it’s important for Gymshark and other brands to play host to having deep conversations, rather than keeping it at surface level.

“Brands have to make sure they are diving deeper into this. They need to definitely be doing it authentically throughout the whole year”, the spokesperson expressed.

On day one of the barber shop, the feedback so far has been “amazing”, with the store full of customers.

With all the barbers’ mental health trained, courtesy of Calm, they can open up to the customers using certain cues and questions.

“If they want to open up they can or if they just want to have a quick chat and a trim and don’t want to get into anything too heavy they can,” the spokesperson added.

Calm says: “Too often men feel there is a lack of safe spaces to really get stuff off their chests. That’s why for many the barbershop is more than a place to just get your haircut – it can be a haven for banter, friendships, and even a space to open up or confide in someone.

“And with 84% of men in the UK bottling up their emotions, our partnership with Gymshark aims to help normalise what to some people might feel like tricky conversations about mental health and spread awareness of CALM’s lifesaving work.”

Gymshark will also be selling exclusive Gymshark Deload Barbershop merchandise in-store, with all proceeds going to mental health charity Calm.

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