For many, the mohawk conjures up images of rebels, dropouts and overall outcasts from the fringes of society, but lately the mohawk has found its way into mainstream styles and contrary to popular belief, it didn’t come from 90’s punk music.The mohawk has a long and colorful history (just like the hair in some mohawks!) and today it can be seen on anyone from children to businessmen. Here’s a look at how this infamous style became a part of our culture.
The mohawk style is named for the Mohawk nation, or the group of Native Americans who lived in the Mohawk Valley of what is now upstate New York. The hairstyle of this tribe actually involved plucking out all of the hair except for a small square near the back of the head. This might not be what we think of when we hear “mohawk”, but thanks to Hollywood’s portrayal of Native American hairstyles, the name quickly stuck.
David Beckham sports a fauxhawk courtesy of Downing Street
Depending on the style, mohawks can be pretty high maintenance. Some of them involve a lot of blow drying or brushing, and some require massive amounts of products to get them to defy gravity. Believe it or not, one of the most popular products to get mohawks to stand up is glue (no, we’re not kidding.)
Photo by Douglas LeMoine
Throughout history, different people have worn mohawks for different reasons. For example, U.S. paratroopers wore mohawks during WWII to make them look more intimidating to their enemies.Some wear it to stand out from “normal” society, and others wear it simply because it is a modern trend. After all, there are many different types of mohawks these days.
There are tons of different mohawk variants or categories. We’re not trying to split hairs here, but here’s the basic gist of it: a classic mohawk is one strip of hair standing up in the center of the head. Two or three strips of hair are referred to as a bi or tri hawk respectively, and a strip of hair running sideways from temple to temple is a crosshawk. From there we can get into the fine details like a “fauxhawk” (longer hair in the center without shaving the sides) or “liberty spikes” (giant individual spikes instead of a row of hair).
Photo by Mayhem
We don’t know if there’s a such thing as “too big” but we do know that the world record for the world’s tallest mohawk belongs to Kazuhiro Watanabe of Japan. When asked what prompted him to sport the 3 foot 8.6 inch mohawk he simply stated, “I really wanted to be in the Guinness World Record Book.” Fair enough. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aYuKyUCTyw The mohawk was once thought of as being a style meant to elicit shock value, but that is not always the case in today’s world. Either way, we’re sure that the mohawk is definitely not going anywhere any time soon.