Gao Detian is one of these barber masters, or "see fu" as he is dubbed in Cantonese. He takes pride in the longevity of his grooming business.
"Nothing has changed in my shop," says Gao. "From floor to ceiling, everything in the shop has stayed the same as 30 years ago."
Now 66, Gao opened his shop Shanghai Kiu Kwun Barber Shop in North Point three decades ago. It is one of the largest remaining Shanghainese barber shops in Hong Kong.
To visit Gao's two-story shop is like walking into a movie scene in Wong Kar-wai's "In the Mood for Love."
"There were so many Shanghainese here in the 1960s and 1970s, everyone spoke the same tongue," says Gao. "There were other Shanghainese barber shops on this street but now all of them have moved."
After the Communist Party seized control of Shanghai in 1949, many citizens fled to Hong Kong and clustered in North Point.
As Shanghai had long been synonymous with style, Shanghainese barbers remained the arbiters of cool in Hong Kong for many years.
Now, what was once avant-garde has become retro and the see fu himself has fallen behind the times. Not many Shanghai barber shops remain in Hong Kong and Kiu Kwun is one of the last.
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