The New York Times reports that all the cool kids are asking their barbers to cut their hair in a modified version of the high-and-tight: short on the sides, long on top and slicked back with whatever today’s hipster equivalent of Brylcreem is. And even though this relatively simple hairstyle predates Nazism and all of its awful aesthetic ilk by at least a few decades, those in the know are still asking their barbers and stylists for a “Hitler Youth” or even just a “Hitler” in some cases. Because, you know, that doesn’t bring to mind any negative associations whatsoever.
As with most politically incorrect practices in the fashion industry, most of the people who invoke the Third Reich at the barber shop are fashion-obsessed Americans, so blinded by their pursuit of the trend that apparently it never occurred to them that calling a particular hairstyle “the Hitler” might make it less popular. Nevertheless, everyone from Scott Schuman of The Sartorlialist to male model Cole Mohr to fashion designer-turned-photographer Hedi Slimane have been spotted sporting the haircut. But they’re mostly based in the United States.
In Europe, people shy away from terms for it that could hint of fascism. In Stockholm, the haircut has become so ubiquitous that television sports announcers wear it, said Sofia Hedstrom, a Swedish fashion journalist who lives in New York. Swedes have lots of names for it, she added, including the “synth,” owing to variations worn by ‘80s bands like New Order and Modern English.
The Times article points out that German men and women ask the haircut, too — they just find something else to call it. And given the circumstances, we think that’s pretty wise.