It’s a well-known fact that fads of fashion occurs in trends. Clothing and hairstyles of different cultures that are subject to alienation on the inside of America quickly become conglomerated with popular culture by the dominant pop figure, actress, etc. The “freaks” were spreading and it was never been so quick to happen before as it was in the 1960’s. Things began shifting right before the Vietnam war when changes in the political paradigm took place, favoring diversity and art against war and strife. Supporting a cause was as easy as letting your hair grow and wearing colors.
Among this movement came many crazes. The infamous denim blue jeans; patch abundant, grass stained and holed. This meant rebellion for many young adults, much to the discouragement of parents, elders, and militant right-wing thinkers – not to belittle all other opposing parties left out of discussion.
American singer David Crosby elaborates on this controversy to facilitate the waving of the freak flag, as he so plainly put it. “Almost Cut My Hair” is a song that was written directly after JFK was assassinated, although took more of a take on the looming paranoia that is accompanied with being a part of the hippie generation. He goes on to reveal how he did not “give an inch to fear”, and further to express the moral complications that would surely follow after copping out of “letting his freak flag fly.” Crosby, with the addition of other huge figures like Lennon and Dylan have promoted the status of their hair into the position of activism and protest. Even JFK was represented by a modern haircut. His sides were tapered to a thin wear on each end and his bangs were boisterously fluffed. His prominent hairline promised change.
Much of the clean-shaven idealism has been reinforced by the American man in previous years was called into question. The clean, strong, and the proper man was letting his hair grow into a long grove of weeds, letting his pants stain and his beaten shoes callous his feet all in the name of peace.
It’s important to remember that most of these trends left a permanent impression on the world. Different types of hair for men that began in the sixties are still around today. Take the mop top for example; the beloved early 60’s Paul John George and Ringo look. It was easy to see how quickly America acted to replace Cary Grant’s signature slick coiffure. Braids, waves, and headbands, all products of other cultures and ethnic groups, have been absorbed by the Americans and can be seen on the streets today.
Fashion, at this stage of the game, is an often-unhealthy mix of the fads from the old days. The 1960’s was undoubtedly the height of expressive fashion. Since beauty is essentially in the eye of the ad campaigns, our own beholder, never before has so much changed within the course of one single decade. It’s been long enough since they’ve given up, or since we’ve last seen a “Beautify America, get a haircut” billboard.