It’s undeniable, the mullet is back

Words by Matthew O’Leary

This time, it’s for men and women.

No longer confined to dusty sporting record books, the ‘80s mullet has gained new dominance beyond Warwick Capper and BT.

If you’ve found yourself in Brunswick or Redfern lately, you must’ve noticed the swell of them on the streets.

Over the last few years the mullet has surfaced on red carpets (Rihanna’s mohawk mullet), cat walks (Off-White Spring 2018) and popular culture (Stranger Things). And now the ever-controversial hairstyle has officially hit the streets.

But the modern mullet is softer and more open to interpretation to its forefather. For people who identify as male, female or non-binary, the cut has become a declaration of androgyny. It has been reinvented as a gender-fluid symbol of cool.

Hair styling has always allowed for non-conformist statements and been the key to subcultural rebellion for generations. But with a shift away from binary gender identities comes a natural shift in how those identities are expressed, meaning that fashion, beauty, and hair become integral political modes.

In 2019, its DIY-look morphs masculine and feminine characteristics in a protest against conventional beauty standards. 

So if the new and improved mullet is back, how is it being styled?

1. The shag


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Oregon again and always

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Today’s mullets range in shape and size but many take a ‘60s inspiration. Model and actress Katerina Tannenbaum, who is set to star in RuPaul’s upcoming Netflix series ‘AJ and The Queen’, has adopted the shag mullet, wearing it out ruggedly long with a puffing fringe.

2. The soft


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soft mullet ✨✨✨

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Hair salons and influencers have opened up mullet territory and delved into their own innovations. The gender-neutral NYC salon Vacancy Project, led by Masami Hosono, is cutting varied versions, such as the soft mullet and its own signature style, the step mullet.

3. The step mullet


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Wash, Cut, Style by Sonny

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The step mullet – featured in Teen Vogue as a new look of the year – is defined by a blunt chop at the front around the cheekbone and a longer length at the back, similar to a staircase. It can be worn straight or curly, or with a fringe for extra effect.

4. The matrix


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Here, Tokyo-based influencer Mademoiselle Yulia wears the look with sharp cuts and angles to frame the face for an edgy look. It’s more than just terf bangs.

5. The buzz


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So many mullet variations to be had! ???? #get #one

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The razor is a common go-to in forming versions of the contemporary mullet. Many wear the look with shaved sides or a bold, full-platinum dye.

6. The tie-dye

Colour is an easy way to spice things up. Here, stylists at gender-neutral Eye Am Hair salon in Hobart are using splashes of colour to show something unique.

7. The high-low


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Knock’em back; with @infiniteshit the other week

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New York-based model Sara Hiromi, has worked the high-low shape for years now. Her sharp micro-fringe sits blunt over her forehead to contrast with her hip-length locks that cascade down her back.

8. The Starman


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David Bowie by Masayoshi Sukita August – 1972, London, UK. @masayoshi_sukita_official #RandomBowie #BowieByMasayoshiSukita

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And how could we talk about androgyny and the mullet without mentioning the original gender bender, David Bowie. His flaming red spike top and neon-blue eye makeup brought us Ziggy Stardust and defined the ‘70s, revolutionising masculine fashion and inspiring generations beyond him.

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