Some people in quarantine may be shaving their heads and some others are using this time to truly begin their hair growth journey. Some of them are doing a bit of both. Nonetheless, perhaps a wave that nobody was expecting, the mullet has returned to the fashion-scape, with many embracing the old-school hairstyle in its newfound glory. The mullet’s reputation in popular culture hasn’t always been the best one, with it being the pinnacle of ridicule for its unique style.
A brief history
Said to have been coined by the American boyband The Beastie Boys, with their song ‘Mullet Head’, the mullet entered our vernacular to describe the signature haircut. The Beastie Boys’ famous line that encapsulated the look went a little something like ‘Cut the sides, don’t touch the back’. The ‘mullethead’ was the person the media gave a trashy and undesirable profile.
Though figments of the hairstyle have been reported in ancient history, it was popularised in the 1970s through to the 1980s, and the style became synonymous with rock and country. The mullet was Ziggy Stardust’s most fascinating haircut, styled in bright orange, choppy and atypical. It was the number one edgy haircut and popular because of its universality with different hair styles. The look symbolised fun and held a special place in country star Billy Ray Cyrus’ heart as he composed the legendary song ‘I want my mullet back’.
People became known for their mullets and were met with shock when they cut it off. Clearly, it lent largely to their signature image and personality, and even their brand. Fashioned mainly by men, the hairstyle often synchronised with gender fluidity and playing on gender stereotypes: a boyish look at the front, and a more feminine look at the back. Business in the front, party in the back.
Just ten years ago, we saw the mullet become legally barred in Iran for being a ‘decadent Western cut’, though it had become a bit of a hair antique in these years. The 80s fossilised and mummified the mullet as a popular style with stars preferring a new way of expressing their identity.
So… why is it back?
If there’s one thing our modern society loves to do, it’s to recycle. To make hip again what once was. Our new Gen-Z population adore reclaiming old trends, turning it on its head and breaking away from the norm. The mullet has been dug out from the past, like a lost and found box, and it has been polished, ready for re-wearing again. It’s the perfect play for attention, and it’s definitely working.
Miley Cyrus has begun wearing her father’s signature mullet again, as well as Irina Shayk, Barbie Ferreria and Halsey who have given in to the trend but have made it sexy again.
This time, it has come back in a slightly more fashionable way, with the sides coming down longer, framing faces instead of exposing too much. It has a fairy-like essence, capturing innocence and rebellion in the same cut; and we don’t feel its appeal will waver just yet.
But, how many times can we expect the mullet to be redone? How much can it be changed and what’s going to knock it off its high horse this time?
Even editorials have embraced the look with a spacey, cyborg theme, as if the look signifies a new age. It’s definitely something when something from the past comes to connote ideas of futurism. It may be the ultimate juxtaposition.
The mullet is still the embodiment of anti-fashion and is the rebellious younger sibling of the hair family. And there’s nothing more fashionable than what isn’t the norm. All we can say is Billy Ray Cyrus and Ziggy Stardust alike would be very happy right now.