Robin Barker was born in England of Royal Stewart blood and the son of a successful lawyer. He started his hairdressing career in London, England in the sixties and was managing a salon within two years. He immigrated to Canada, eventually becoming head stylist of Gus Caruso’s, Toronto’s number one salon.
In 1971 Robin Barker opened his own business, which became the first salon where makeovers became an integral part of the service. At this time, Robin gave Moses Znaimer, the co-founder of CityTV, an idea for a TV show, which became City Line. Robin was a regular on the show for over 30 years.
Robin has represented many leading companies as a “Platform Artist”, including a Roy Thompson Hall production for L’Oreal as Premier Stylist where he shared the stage with Alexander de Paris. His work has been in every major trade magazine in the world such as Vogue and Italian Vogue. For three years he was the Artistic Director, and served as President for four years for the Guild of Hair Design.
Robin was also a long time member of Intercoiffure and the official hairdresser for the Miss Universe Canada Pageant for many years. Robin Barker has received many accolades and awards including Imagine Mirror Awards, the Contessa, plus the coveted Gus Caruso. Much of Robin’s time has been charity driven. As G.H.D. President, he is very proud of being the first in the beauty and fashion world to organize a show to raise money for AIDS – specifically the AIDS Committee of Toronto. He has been involved with the SickKids Hospital Telethon and was also the motivational force to promote the Parkinson’s Cut-A-Thon event nationally.
For 20 years Robin was the chairman and founder of the Scissors Open, the Gus Caruso Memorial Golf Tournament, which was charity driven on behalf of the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Still in his charitable leaning, this time as a composer, Robin has produced a CD of his songs. All proceeds from the sale of this sponsored effort were donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation for children affected by AIDS in East Africa. On November 15th 2010, Robin celebrated his 50 years in hairdressing in a wonderful show, also launching his musical CD, What are the Children Worth. It was a great success, emceed by Jaymz Bee of Jazz FM and Jeanne Beker of Fashion Television.
In 2011, Robin was presented with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the Mirror Awards by Canadian Hairdresser Magazine. In 2011 Robin was appointed to and sat on the Board of The Ontario College of Trades plus 3 Committees, 2 as Chair for 6 years. On October 15th 2013, Robin decided to sell his Salon to one of his Staff, Anthony Passero. By June 2019 he felt it was time to pursue a more creative outlet, so after being encouraged for a few years by a long time friend, fellow hair artist, & icon Raffaello Marrello, Robin decided to move down the street to 132 Cumberland St. There is respect and a mutual admiration situation including Raffaello’s son Creative Director Christopher and his daughter Mellissa an award winning colourist.
Forever youthful Robin says there is no retiring, so along with taking care of his clients he looks forward to this new creative experience, continuing composing songs, doing photography, trying to keep fit and playing some golf.