The 80s hairstyle can be revived with a little help of Stranger Things. David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust wore the cascading down her neck, Andre Agassi’s kept it in check with a headband. Patti Smith, on the other hand, was all business in the front and party in the back.
Mullets were ubiquitous in the 1970s and 1980s. Now, perhaps to the consternation and surprise of many, they are back.
Partly inspired by the hit TV series Stranger Things and the “1980s footballer” look showcased to perfection in the recent documentary Diego Maradona, the hairdo has been reinvented for the 21st century as a statement of gender fluidity and cool.
Tom Watson, 20 years old, said that his is a mix of George Michael and Ian Botham. He considers the look classic. “They are popular among my friends. Although it started out as a joke, it will never die.”
Idalina Domingos is a 24-year old hairdresser who works in a London salon. She got her shaggy version one year ago. She said, “I cut at most one or two per week. There are modern mullets. People are getting more interested in the idea. This is a great haircut and will only get more popular.”
Jackson Acton, a Peckham hairdresser, said: “You can never go wrong with a Mullet. In the last year, I have done many of them for both men and women.”
Mullets have been a popular trend on catwalks and red carpets for some time. The high street is finally getting the trend. Tina Outen, a stylist used by Vogue and i-D magazine, believes the cut can be cool and also political. This is an expression of androgyny. She said, “There is a sense freedom in fashion industry and we’re in an age of playfulness.” “People can be whatever they want.”
Celebrity hairdresser Charlie Le Mindu agreed: “It works for all genders. It is being used a lot in the streets,” he stated. Domingos said that it allows for all genders, including non-genders, and binaries.
Dominic Johnson, a Queen Mary University of London reader in performance, visual culture, and performance, stated that the reason for the revival of the hairdo was partly political. He said that although it sounds absurd, the hairstyle is tied to a long tradition of using whatever means were available to create an identity.
Another reason is that many people mock the mullet as a symbol of conventional beauty. Caryn Franklin is a fashion commentator and professor at Kingston School of Art. She believes that the new-wave mulet is a protest against the long-haired, high-maintenance looks that have dominated female portrayals in mainstream advertising. She said that hair styling allowed for non-conformist statements.
The word has been spread via social media. Many hair salons and influential people, like the Vacancy Project in New York or Portland’s Bree Ritter have their own signature cuts.
How should you style it? According to Teen Vogue, the most popular version is the “step mullet”. The style, which features hair cut at different levels, is similar to the staircase steps. It stems from the DIY idea that you can cut your hair with kitchen scissors.
You can wear it in a practical manner. Outen said, “You can tie it back and have a short, choppy hairstyle.” Le Mindu suggests wearing it straight at your back. He said, “I like it geometrically and crazy.” However, it looks set to be a fashion trend. Acton said, “You’ll find more of it.” Ten years ago, it was considered taboo to be short on the sides and tall on top. It’s now common to see it on men in suits, and on Love Island. “I think the mullet will look like that very soon.”