A new trend in hair has been cropping up around campus: the undercut.
According to the blog “Fuck Yeah, Undercuts,” “The undercut is a unisex haircut whereby the top section of hair is held in place whilst the side and back sections are cut, thus making the top longer and the back and sides shorn.”
Several students who sport the style opt to shave just a patch on one side of their head, leaving the back and other side longer.
This variation is also popular on “Fuck Yeah, Undercuts,” which features submissions of women and men with undercut hairstyles. The blog has 109 pages of photographs, dating back to August 2009.
The fashion magazine Fashionising cites the trend as a revival of men’s hair styles from the 1920s and 30s, coming back into vogue partially because of a revitalized interest in this time period, perpetuated by T.V. shows like “Boardwalk Empire” and movies like “The Artist” and “The Great Gatsby.”
The trend’s growth since 2009 can also be attributed to celebrities known for their embrace of the style, including pop stars Ke$ha and Rihanna, singer Ellie Goulding, and dubstep producer Skrillex.
Andrea Schindler ’15 encountered comparisons to Skrillex after getting her undercut several weeks ago.
“A lot of people reacted really positively to it, but [my friend] was just like ‘Dude, you can’t pull off the Skrillex. You’re not Skrillex!’” said Schindler. “He was very upset.”
Another blog, “Girls That Look Like Skrillex,” is dedicated to submissions of women who claim a resemblance between themselves and the male dubstep artist.
Claire Dougherty ’13 tried unsuccessfully to submit a photo to the blog.
“I didn’t know who Skrillex was until my housemate showed me that blog ‘Girls That Look Like Skrillex,’” Dougherty said. “We tried to get on it and failed. [My housemate] sent in a picture of me. I really did not want to be on someone’s blog.”
After being rejected, however, she said it felt personal.
Although Skrillex—nee Sonny John Moore—is one of the primary celebrity proponents of the trend, the style is most popular among female students on campus.
“Guys go for mohawks before undercuts,” said Dougherty, who has given undercuts to other students in addition to sporting one herself. “Guys don’t have as much to work with.”
Some students have gotten their undercut done at a professional salon, while others have turned to friends to help them achieve the style. Students say that after the initial cut, it is easy for them to maintain themselves.
“I got it done at a salon right near my house, so just where I usually get my hair cut,” said Liza Sankar-Gorton ’15. “I have my own buzz cutter and do it about every two weeks, because I like to keep it really short.”
Schindler’s decision to get her undercut was very spur of the moment—she claimed in reaction to a particularly stressful biology exam—and low key.
“My older brother did it,” she said. “He’s a senior here, on the Frisbee team, and I was hanging out at his house and they were all discussing what kinds of things they were going to do to their facial hair, so I was like ‘Yo, do you want to buzz part of my head,’ and he was like ‘of course!’”
Students noted that the style is less extreme than others they have seen or considered for themselves. Some consider the undercut to be a middle ground between having completely long hair and cutting it all short or buzzing it entirely.
“Getting a pixie cut is such a huge commitment because it just takes so long to grow out, but this is sort of a compromise,” Sankar-Gorton said. “I know a lot of people who get it. For instance, I used to part my hair the other way, and I still can, and so I can cover it up and nobody can tell [it’s undercut] if I need to. It’s really easily covered up, and it’s definitely fun to have part of your hair that you can mess with however you want, without actually committing to this long-term thing.”
Despite the versatility this allows, she also urged students to consider the maintenance and future of their undercut before getting it done.
“After you do it, you have to figure out what you’re going to do afterwards, like whether you’re going to keep it,” Schindler said. “I haven’t done anything since two or three weeks ago when I did it, and now I can either hide it from the world by parting my hair the other way or cut it. Know that you have to either maintain it or hide it from the world.”
Although the trend is very visible, these students said they would still like to see more people make the bold choice to get an undercut.
“I cut a lot of hair. I’m trying to convince people,” Dougherty said. “I’m all for it. There’s not enough experimentation.”