By Trenae McDuffie and Justen Blaize
Remember those 80s hairstyles—the hi-top fade from Kid n Play and the sassy cuts worn by Salt-n-Pepa?
Those hairstyles circulated the domes of African-Americans from coast-to-coast decades ago. Now, 30 years after their debut, these styles are coming back.
“Retro is always in, people wasn’t around when it happened, that don’t mean it wasn’t good. Once they reintroduced it, other people took note to it, people took a fancy to it. Thus we had a retro,” Tyrel, a barber at Levels, said.
These days, the barbers at the Harlem barbershop, Levels, are fading the old styles into a new art form.
“The color, now the Mohawk, with the design and the color that’s what I’m into. I like that. I do that,” Enrico Charles said.
“First time it was probably introduced as a trend, now its like a fad now its apart of the culture,” Tyrel said.
What inspired the revived trend? Some point to current hip-hop icons.
“The hip-hop. I think that’s what sparked it. Like different hip-hop artists like P.Diddy and Roscoe Dash and Rihanna and that’s what sparked us to do it,” one female customer said.
“Cassie, her hairstyles is real nice. Keisha Cole’s. That’s basically the main artists that you know like, branch off and do their own thing and basically create a trend,” Charles said.
The barbers want some credit too. They have a hand in the re-made ‘do’s
“Well the hip-hoppers come here to get their hair cuts so we have a lot to do with it. Whenever they feel like they want to change, they go to the barbershop. Before they do they video, they got to get hair cuts,” Tyrel said.
Whatever the inspiration, most agree the comeback designs are ageless.
“I shaved the sides of like this little girl, she was nine all the way to like a 50-year-old. She got all her sides taken off and she had hair dropped to the other side and that’s just her style,” Charles said.
Whether it’s the cut of the hair or the shape of the design, people are finding ways to make these vintage styles fresh all over again.
“When you get the Mohawk, you can get colors, you can get styles, different cuts on the sides. I mean, if you’re into music you can get music notes, if you’re into stars, you can get starts, hearts, you can do whatever you want to it to make it look like it’s your own style,” one Levels customer said.
Only time will tell what styles will re-emerge in another 30 years.