As I stood watching a friend get a mullet haircut in order to raise money for charity, two thoughts crossed my mind. Firstly, how did mullets go from a laughable look in parent’s photo albums to a fashion statement? Secondly, had we really raised enough money to make this worth it?
From speaking to peers about mullets, there is a consensus that they are now worthy of the “trend” nomenclature. However, they seem to evoke a feeling of uncertainty, an inner doubt about why they are now somewhat attractive. Perhaps this is due to the wearers’ confidence in embracing a historically unappealing look. The haircut, long on a stylistic par with socks and sandals, has risen from the ashes of fades and surfer mops to take Trinity by storm. Croc-wearers wait with bated breath: will their time come too?
The typical mullet owner in Trinity spends so much time at the Arts Block benches, you would think they are getting credits per rollie. In Trinity, as far as I can see, the trend can be traced back to students from England, particularly of the private school variety. Perhaps it originated as some sort of secret code to pick out their boarding school bros, and distance themselves as far as possible from their chino-wearing pasts. But now the mullet has spread further, past the D4 gang and into all spheres of Trinity and Dublin style.
Much like the reasons for its newfound popularity, the history of the mullet is somewhat elusive. Many trace the word back to Mike D of The Beastie Boys. The band’s 1994 album Ill Communication contained the song “Mullet Head”, a unique song in which mullets and their owners are described. They joke about how mullet heads come off like they are “Van Damme”, they have “Kenny G” in their “trans am” cars and names like “Billy Ray” – referencing Billy Ray Cyrus, the “Achy Breaky Heart” singer and purveyor of all things business at the front and party at the back.
The Trinity incarnation of this song would probably include figures who like to appear run-down, have a Bandcamp for their DART “jams” and have nicknames like … well, they just all have obscure nicknames.
But the mullet existed long before The Beastie Boys. In the southern states of America it was known as the “Kentucky Waterfall” or the “Mississippi Top Hat”, and in west Wales it was christened the “Bouncing Cobra”. This is a far more menacing title than the German version – which, titled “Vokuhila”, translates simply to “short at front, long at back”. Imaginative.
This year has seen celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Zendaya and Miley Cyrus sport the look. In fashion, Virgil Abloh used high-fashion variations of the hairstyle on his 2017 Off-White catwalk. Stranger Things characters Steve Harrington and Billy Hargrove are also possible culprits for the regeneration of this look.
The 1980s style has changed significantly in modernity – rarely is it sported shoulder-length or longer. It lies somewhere between a fade and a mohawk, often cut with medium length all over, alongside a temple fade. You can make the modern mullet your own – there are no rules with this look.
After years of tight fades, expensive trips to the barbers and, quite frankly, a limited choice for men’s haircuts, the mullet is a statement as well as an easy DIY look.