A peculiar phenomenon is sweeping across various landscapes, and it's not subtle. Mullets, once relegated to the fringes of fashion, have resurged with a vengeance, making their presence felt everywhere. Step into a pub in Hackney, east London, attend a concert by Fred Again, or immerse yourself in the fervor of a rugby match at Twickenham Stadium—you can't escape the haunting sight of mullets.
Known by various names such as the mullet, the "Kentucky waterfall," or the "beaver paddle," this hairstyle features a shorter cut at the front, top, and sides, paired with a longer cascade at the back. It's not just a quirky choice anymore; it's a statement embraced by on-screen heartthrobs like Paul Mescal, Australian actor Jacob Elordi, and Hollywood sensation Timothée Chalamet.
The mullet's influence extends beyond the realm of entertainment. In the world of sports, figures like Spanish footballer Hector Bellerin, British rugby player Joe Marler, and Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas have all boldly showcased the mullet this year. Australian rules football players have joined the trend en masse.
While the resurgence may seem recent, the mullet's conquest of modern pop culture dates back several years. Singers like Lil Nas X and pop culture icons Rihanna and Zendaya have flaunted their versions on prestigious red carpets. By 2021, Miley Cyrus had also embraced the divisive hairstyle, and Vogue declared the mullet an unexpected star of modern street style.
Not stopping at celebrities and pop culture, the mullet has invaded high-profile fashion events. Designers like Junya Watanabe, Stella McCartney, and Alexander McQueen incorporated the unconventional hairstyle into their 2022 runway shows, solidifying its mainstream status.
As proof of its ubiquity, the mullet has even sparked controversy in schools. Last month, a Sunderland schoolboy faced isolation and a directive to chop off his "extreme" mullet. Across the pond, a doctor from Dorset is making headlines as he grows his locks for the world mullet growing championships in Australia, deemed the Everest of the competitive mullet growing world.
It's official—we've all gone mullet mad. From red carpets to runways, from sports fields to schools, the business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back aesthetic is making an undeniable mark on contemporary culture.
Though the term "mullet" gained mainstream recognition only in the last two decades, its roots extend far into the annals of history. According to Alan Henderson's book "Mullet Madness," prehistoric communities might have inadvertently discovered the practicality of shorter hair in the front and longer strands at the back, effectively keeping hair out of their eyes while ensuring warmth around the neck.
Ancient Greek texts and depictions of Greek gods from the 6th century further underscore the mullet's enduring presence, hinting at a style that transcended time. In certain indigenous tribes in the US, variations of the mullet, with a spiked front and a flowing back, hold cultural significance, symbolizing power and a connection with the divine.
The contemporary incarnation of the mullet owes much to David Bowie's iconic tangerine-orange waterfall-style mullet, sported during his Ziggy Stardust era in the Seventies. In an era marked by cultural rebellion, the mullet emerged as a subversive fashion statement, defying conventional norms by blending elements of length, gender fluidity, and a unique blend of scruffiness and sleekness.
While the resurgence of the mullet during recent times may have initially been a product of lockdown-induced boredom, it has since evolved into a fashionable and enduring trend. Men, seeking the perfect modern mullet, have shifted from DIY hair experiments to seeking professional assistance. Ryan Lewis, owner of Club 13 barbershop in Hull, notes a significant uptick, with about one-third of his clientele opting for mullets.
The modern mullet, as observed by Lewis, is more than a mere hairstyle; it embodies a contemporary masculinity, notably prevalent in combat and contact sports, that has seamlessly permeated mainstream culture. The harsh cuts associated with rugby culture are being counteracted by the softer, feathery mullets donned by figures like Paul Mescal and others. In essence, the modern mullet is not just a revival; it's a nuanced expression of natural, effortless style with a softer and less ostentatious silhouette.
The resurgence of the mullet is not just a fleeting trend; it's a transformative movement that has transcended stereotypes and infiltrated the mainstream. James Doyle, manager of the Bristol barbershop Harry Blades and Angry Daves, attests to the diversity of mullet enthusiasts, noting that it's not confined to those in non-corporate environments. Accountants, creatives, musicians – the mullet has become a workplace-appropriate style embraced by anyone and everyone seeking to make a bold statement.
The trend's influence is so pervasive that even hairdressing schools are adapting their training methods. Samantha Perkins, owner of Hair by Sam and a lecturer at the London Hairdressing Academy, reveals that special masterclasses in the art of cutting mullets have been introduced due to overwhelming demand. This isn't just a run-of-the-mill cut; it's a technical feat involving scissors and razors, challenging stylists to understand hair types intricately for flawless execution.
Perkins asserts that the era of the conventional "short back and sides" haircut, dominating men's hair trends for the past decade, is on the decline. The mullet, with its rebellious charm, provides men with a platform to express themselves and embrace individuality. Michael Kent, a stylist at Blue Tit hair salon in London, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing how the mullet has revolutionized men's hairstyling, allowing them to break free from the monotony of bland cuts. Clients, once asking for the likes of Ed Sheeran's hair, now seek inspiration from figures like Timothée Chalamet, reflecting a broader shift in societal attitudes toward self-expression and diversity.
Crucially, the mullet has transcended gender norms. Scarlett Johansson, Joan Jett, and Dolly Parton have all sported variations of the coif, challenging the perception that it is exclusively a male hairstyle. Perkins and Kent affirm that women are increasingly seeking mullets, emphasizing its genderless appeal and describing it as an androgynous look that resonates with individuals seeking a bold and unapologetic expression of their identity. The mullet, once relegated to the fringes of fashion, has become a symbol of inclusivity, diversity, and a celebration of the myriad ways individuals choose to define themselves through their hair.
Curious about trying the mullet but unsure if it suits you? According to Michael Kent, a stylist at Blue Tit hair salon in London, the beauty of the mullet lies in its universal adaptability. "It's like a wig you can put on anyone!" he exclaims, emphasizing the versatility that makes this once-controversial hairstyle accessible to all.
The mullet's resurgence has not only transformed the landscape of hairstyling but has become a focal point for individuals seeking a distinctive and expressive look. Ryan Lewis, owner of Club 13 barbershop in Hull, attests to the trend's popularity, noting that approximately one-third of his clientele are opting for the mullet, highlighting its widespread appeal.
As the mullet continues to make waves in the world of fashion and self-expression, it's evident that this iconic hairstyle has transcended its previous associations and become a symbol of individuality and bold choices. Whether you're looking to embrace the "business in the front, party in the back" mantra or simply want to add a touch of flair to your hairstyle, the mullet stands ready as a versatile and timeless option for those ready to make a statement.
In the captivating world of hairstyling, the mullet has not merely staged a comeback; it has sparked a renaissance, transcending boundaries and defying expectations. Michael Kent's assertion that the mullet is akin to a versatile wig, fitting seamlessly on anyone, encapsulates the universal appeal of this once-controversial hairstyle.
Ryan Lewis's experience at Club 13 barbershop in Hull reflects a broader trend, with approximately one-third of clients opting for the mullet. It's a testament to the mullet's newfound popularity and acceptance, breaking free from stereotypes and becoming a symbol of individuality.
As the mullet continues to weave its way into mainstream fashion, challenging conventional norms and inspiring self-expression, it's evident that this iconic hairstyle is more than just a trend; it's a statement. Whether you're drawn to the "business in the front, party in the back" ethos or see it as a canvas for personal flair, the mullet stands as a timeless option for those ready to embrace a bold and unapologetic style.
In a world where individuality is celebrated, the mullet renaissance invites everyone to partake in the joy of self-expression. As the mullet graces the heads of diverse individuals, it symbolizes not just a hairstyle but a movement—a movement that declares that fashion knows no boundaries and that the pursuit of personal style is a journey open to all.