16th October 2021

Oak House Mullets and Shags

Beauty editor Alice Henderson dwelves into the meanings and origins of the latest TikTok hair trend: the mullet.
Oak House Mullets and Shags
Photo Credit: Hello I’m Nik @Unsplash

Last year’s curtain bangs are not yet gone, but we are already seeing the emergence of a new hairstyle this autumn. Seen in the narrow corridors of Oak House and Owens Park alike, the ‘shag’ – a tasteful name for a tasteful haircut, has made its way into all the crooks and nooks of Fallow.

Unlike other experimental tropes seen around campus, like that of Crocs or claw clips, the new mullet marks a resurgence of 70s and 80s style. Social media helped it back into fashion, presenting it now as a longer, more feminine, but still heavily layered style, reminiscent of the original cut.

First emerging as a ‘quarantine cut’, the new hairstyle first gained traction in Korea and then found its way to Tiktok as the next DIY hair craze. It was originally known as the ‘wolf-cut’, featuring tousled ends and an eyebrow length fringe. Similar to the original 70s and 80s look, it still embraces natural hair texture to channel the untamed, carefree appearance once seen on the likes of Billy Rae Cyrus and James Hetfield.

The technique used to achieve it involved putting all your hair into a high ponytail and cutting the ends in one movement, resulting in choppy layers that fall shorter around the face. However, Gen Z are now moving on to professional hair dressers to achieve the look, tailoring the depth and framing of the cut to suit their face shape.

The timing of this comeback isn’t coincidental. Previously, the mullet signified flamboyance – it was outlandish and unapologetic and allowed for a form of self-expression beyond the punk and yuppie groups. Worn by men and women of all ages, it was able to transcend normative gender roles and traditional styling. It soon became a part of the lesbian culture too, becoming a way to identify one’s self as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in public.

Today, in the post-lockdown world, the hairdo, once again, has come to symbolise freedom and new beginnings for young people, welcoming change in both hair and lifestyle.

It has since gained popularity in the media, sported by celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and Billie Eilish. Recently, it has even reached the high-fashion world, being used by brands like Isabel Marant during fashion week. Prada also chose to recreate the style for Milan Fashion Week, shortening the layers around the sides of the face, and slicking the hair back to create their own version.

The mullet has emerged as a haircut for everyone and although we might have thought of it as another fleeting trend, it seems that it’s here to stay.

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