It’s the fad from the 80s you never thought would see a revival, but hairdressers are reporting the mullet is back in vogue.
Hairstylist Brent Mattern loves the mullet so much, he cuts his own.
“I think it’s fun. People sort of look at you and smile,” Mr Mattern, who owns Bespoke Hair in North Hobart, said.
“It’s a bit 80s Aussie backyard, what mates do to each other — it’s got that Aussie humour to it as well.”
Mr Mattern said he cuts about one mullet a week at his salon and believes its rise in popularity comes down to AFL players and popular music from the past.
“The mullet is sort of that underground, grungy haircut, but now it’s come back through the market and it’s become this big sort of fashionable thing again.”
Back in fashion or never left?
So what is it about the mullet that’s so appealing to Australian males?
“I think a lot of these men that have mullets are trying to disrupt the status quo,” photographer Isabella Moore said.
Moore had an entire book published celebrating the iconic hairstyle after she was hired to photograph Mulletfest in New South Wales.
“I thought I’d landed on another planet,” she said of the annual festival.
“I reckon it’s got to do with this Australian notion of being laid back and not taking yourself too seriously.
“It’s such a peculiar hairstyle, it always draws attention.
“People are so fascinated with it as well because it’s seen as this quintessential mark of Australian identity.”
As for whether or not the mullet was making a return to the mainstream, Ms Moore believes while it has come back into fashion, it also never really left.
“The men who have been wearing it since the 80s, I don’t think they’re the kind of blokes who care about fashion but because it’s maintained that solidity, there has been a rise in the ‘fashionable’ mullet in the last five years,” she said.
Birth of an icon
While having a mullet today may be undeniably Australian, Moore said the style was adopted from America.
“When [Australians] were developing our own entertainment industry, it was easier to adopt an American influence, [and] because of that American influence in the 70s, American culture came to Australia,” she said.
She namechecked singer John Farnham, one of the mullet’s most famous Australian wearers.
“He was quite famous and would have travelled and perhaps personified [the mullet] in an Australian way,” she said.
Alex Hunt, 28, has had his mullet “on and off” for around three years.
“It all started at a house party with a set of clippers and a few drinks, as all good things do,” he said.
As for why he caught the mullet: “I just liked it, it seemed like a good, honest haircut.”
Mr Hunt said his now signature look can be quite polarising as people either love it or hate it.
“It’s quite a bogan sort of thing to have, but at the same time, it’s entertaining — it’s a conversation starter,” he said.
“Mum would never let me have one as a kid [and] it comes down to not having what I wanted as a kid. But I’m an adult now.”
From being stopped at Bunnings to spotting a mullet across a crowded room, each mullet has its own tale to tell.
Caleb Overdijk, 19, explained the mullet brought people together and transcended class or social standing.
“When you go to a music gig or something like that, and you see someone else with a mullet, you guys are automatically mates,” he said.
The dairy farmer used to have a man bun but decided to get a mullet after a relationship ended.
“You could say it was to get over the grief,” he laughed.
As for what the other farmers think of his hairstyle, he says they find it a bit funny.
“I reckon I would’ve expected [negative feedback] from the older generation, but a lot of older people really love it. I think it takes them back,” he said.
The Mullet that caught the PM’s eye
Jarrad Cirkel had no idea the mullet he had been sporting for nearly a decade would cause such a stir, but after being snapped alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the campaign trail, Mr Cirkel has become something of a local celebrity.
“The more the merrier, power to the mullet,” Mr Cirkel, from northern Tasmania, said when asked how he felt about so many younger men sporting the signature look.
The Bridgenorth Football Club player and TAFE teacher said his mullet was a “bit of a talking point” with his students who often had mullets themselves.
However, not everyone is a fan.
“My wife despises my mullet,” he said.
“The last haircut I had was the week before our wedding and she’s hated it ever since and wants it gone.
“It’s here for the meantime.”