They became popular in the 1980s, a new style for the rebellious set, but in reality the Mohawk hairstyle dates even further back and comes with a very proud tradition. This unusual haircut was worn by Native Americans long before the punk crowd of the 80’s discovered it.
The hairstyle is credited to the Mohawks of the Upstate New York area, or the Mohicans. It has since been thought it actually was a do sported by the Huron tribe of the Great Lakes region. The hairdo was used in wartime along with war paints to present a ferocious look.
There are also stories of Allied soldiers adopting the style to during World War II. The look was believed to intimidate the Germans.
But what is a Mohawk exactly?
This cut is achieved when both sides of the head are shaved clean and the hair on the top is left in long spikes. It can also be accomplished by buzzing the hair neatly on the sides while leaving the top long for the creation of spikes. The appearance heightens the wearer’s appearance, often greatly, and is considered “freakish” by the convention. In the punk styling, the spikes are generally treated as opportunities for individual expression. The spikes are oftentimes dyed into different colors and are often gelled to stand straight on end. When coupled with facial piercing and other styles of the punk set, the look is quite unusual in comparison to the more clean cut looks of modern times.
The Mohawk became very popular in the 1980s thanks to celebrity Mr. T. choosing to sport one. His popularity in The A-Team and Rocky brought the style into its height of popularity. Those wanting to emulate his style but add their own twists created different looks with their Mohawks. The options for styling the spikes and decorating them are many and include such looks as reverse Mohawks, fans, bi-hawks and more.
Those choosing to go with the Mohawk look will find it does require a little more than average amounts of maintenance. The hair on the sides must be kept cropped or shaven clean, which requires constant touch ups. The spikes themselves must be worked into the look on a daily basis, unless strong styling products are used to achieve the look. Even then, sleeping will muss the look, so daily attention is required.
Considered unusual and out of place by many, the Mohawk hairstyle might not fit conventional ideas of appearance, but it does nevertheless have a long and interesting history. The style, it appears, was born out of a desire to intimidate the enemy and continues as a way to intimidate and “shock” onlookers. Those who wear the style often say they do so to look different; to express themselves to just simply set themselves apart.