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The Harry Styles phenomenon

Harry Styles Phenomenon Graphic

In honor of Harry Styles Vogue cover, CHALK spoke to KU students about what Harry Styles means to them. 

Harry Styles recently made history as the first male to grace the cover of American Vogue. Although it stirred the world, the feature was certainly not the catalyst of Styles’ prevalence. 

Styles has become an international phenomenon. He fills the timelines, camera rolls, and conversations of his quickly expanding fanbase, constantly celebrated for his progress in music, fashion, and combating gender stereotypes. 

Throughout his decade-long professional and personal journey in the harsh spotlight, Styles has remained an advocate for kindness, trademarking the term "Treat People With Kindness." Millions of fans not only celebrate an artist; they revere him as a person. 

Alec Hathaway, a liberal arts graduate student from Wichita, says he became infatuated with Harry Styles after the release of his second solo album, "Fine Line," and spoke on the gravity of Harry’s recent Vogue cover. 

“It’s a giant leap in the right direction towards breaking gender norms. It’s a male on a women’s magazine wearing a dress,” Hathaway says. “He’s shattering all these stereotypes that we have been left to live with from generations past. They aren’t ours to claim anymore.”

Taking it back a decade, Styles foundation is in music. He began as a member of One Direction, but has progressed into a modern "rockstar" solo artist, and accumulated a colossal fanbase along the way. His new albums surprised fans with their unexpected and genre-defying tracks. 

“A huge thing for me is his music. When he went solo he started writing music for himself and you can hear that artistic freedom in his songs,” says Styles super fan Jessie Roberts, a sophomore linguistics major from Wichita. “He has natural rockstar qualities; the voice, the sound and the stage presence.” 

Another fan, Alex Kozloff, a junior social work major from Topeka, admires Styles’ demeanor when performing. 

TPWK

Alex Kozloff at a Harry Styles solo concert in Denver.

 

“He carries himself so well ... stage presence is a huge deal for me when it comes to artists and performing,” Kozloff says. “When Harry’s up there in front of everyone, he becomes truly mesmerizing.” 

While music is the main aspect of Styles’ fame, he has become a prominent figure in fashion. Fans are constantly surprised with exorbitant, gender-defying looks from Harry.

His playfulness in fashion has inspired his fanbase, earned him a co-hosting position at the 2019 Met Gala and allowed for collaborations with major designers like Gucci

Alec Hathaway

Alec Hathaway, a liberal arts graduate from Wichita, recreates a Harry Styles look on his Instagram. 

“He truly has impacted my expression in my fashion choices,” Hathaway says. “Before Harry, I didn’t feel the urge to have that same declaration of obliterating gender norms. Now when I think of my clothing choices, there aren’t so many limitations. That is in large part due to him and his fearlessness.” 

Hathaway took his inspiration to social media. Last Halloween he posted a photo of himself in a recreation of Harry’s iconic album cover outfit, and repeated his concept this year with a recreation of Harry’s outfit from the "Golden" music video.

Alec

For Halloween, Alec Hathaway recreated a signature look of Styles — one of his style icons. 

“When I do that [the recreations] I feel very free and very open. That’s what’s fun about trying to exhibit some of his characteristics. It allows other people to feel free,” Hathaway says. 

Apart from Styles' tangible success in fashion and music, many fans stick around for more than a new album. Harry Styles the person, not the artist, is emerging as a prominent figure for this new generation.

“He has a very magnetic energy. It comes from the way he is unapologetically himself. That’s why people are drawn to him,” Roberts says. “People admire him, but they also want to be like him.”.

His energy is not the only trait that influences fans. Styles is outspoken in politics and cultural/social movements. In the past, he has used his platform to advocate for Black Lives Matter, the LGBTQ+ community and more. 

“One moment that I will always remember is from 2013, where One Direction had a concert in Kansas City,” Kozloff says. “There were protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church out. Before the show was supposed to start, Harry sent out a tweet saying, ‘Despite the company outside, I believe in equal rights for everyone. I think God loves all.’” 

Fans have also noticed and admired Styles’ outlook on life in general. Styles is well known for his unwavering kindness and charm, even through a screen. 

“We don’t know this person in real life, but we are left with this feeling that he is compassionate and empathetic,” Hathaway says. “That is something to be truly impressed by. Beyond his stardom and his amazing career, he just seems like a genuine person.” 

Roberts draws connections between progressive artists of the past and Styles, likening him to past prominent rock stars who paved the way for an artist like Styles. 

“He is like our Elton John or Prince in the way that he defies gender stereotypes,” Roberts says. 

Styles is an artist dedicated to music and a man dedicated to making the world a better place. He has ignited a phenomenon; joining music lovers, fashion enthusiasts, activists and a diverse fanbase, inspiring them to reimagine what it means to love life, yourself and others. 

Person 1: This song slaps.

Person 2: Your mom slaps.

Person 1: Thank you, my mom is a kind and wonderful lady.


 Person 1: I’m so sick of alcohol.

Person 2: I don’t know, I’m getting stronger every day. I love it.


Person 1: Do you do the vegan wrap here?

Person 2: We can do the chicken wrap with no cheese?

Person 1: I’ll take the Beyond Burger please. 


Person 1: Oh my God! I feel like I know you somehow…

Person 2: Yeah, we went to high school together. 

Person 1: Oh! *walks off*


Guy 1: Is the black market even real? Has anyone ever been on it?

Guy 2: I tried once but I couldn’t figure out how to get on.


Guy 1: I stayed up until 2 am watching Disney plus

Guy 2: I told my girlfriend I fell asleep but I was actually watching the Mandalorian.


Girl 1: How long have you guys been dating?

Girl 2: Since the summer, well actually for like two years but it’s a long story.


Girl 1: Who are you looking for?

Girl 2: This guy, wait I found him. Fanny pack boy. He flipped off my professor after a test and ran out of the classroom.


Girl 1: How did you choose KU? 

Girl 2: Honestly, I flipped a coin. 


Boy 1: Did I tell you? I think I had a threesome this weekend.

Boy 2: Woah, hold up. You think?


Boy 1: I was born a Phi Delt.

Boy 2: Please don’t ever say that again.


Girl 1: How do you get your boobs to look like that?

Girl 2: I don’t ever wear a bra? I don’t know. 


Girl 1: I just really want a guy to bend me over you know?

Girl 2: How do you know? You’re a virgin!


Guy: Sometimes I wish I could just be a dog and sleep all day. 

Girl: You wake up at like three every day. 

Guy: I know.

Girl: So…

Guy: So does that make me a dog or something?


Girl 1: I wish I was a little bit taller.

Girl 2: I wish I was balder.

Girl 1: I wish I had a...wait, wait, wait balder?


Guy 1: Let’s slap dicks

Guy 2: You ever pee and it feels like throwing up?


Woman 1: *holding baby* He would have been safer at the Hawk

Woman 2: Oh absolutely.


Girl 1: I would never date that guy.

Girl 2: Well, it depends how much money he has.


Girl 1: I’m going to the doctor to see if I have bronchitis before I hook up with him again.

Girl 2: Yeah that’s smart so you don’t give it to anyone else. 

Girl 1: No I mean I want to make sure I infect him.


Guy 1: I'm cutting some of my unnecessary costs, starting with Juuling.

Guy 2: Ight man, good luck.

Guy 1: Actually I might just start chewing


Guy 1: How was work?

Guy 2: My manager was chastising me for not dressing up in a Halloween costume, she doesn’t understand I’m strictly here to get paid.


Guy 1: I am so tired of this week, man

Guy 2: Dude it’s Monday

Guy 1: I know


Person#1: I want to be on the first ship to mars

Person#2: Not me, I doubt they have Wi-Fi

Perons#1: Yeah but at least they’re evolving up there. We’re all just devolving.


Girl 1: Um, I don’t eat pig.

Girl 2: You eat bacon all the time, bitch.


Guy 1: You better get going. 

Guy 2: Yeah, see ya. I’m off to get some Adderall.


Girl 1: Are you home right now?

Girl 2: Yeah, why?

Girl 1: I bought a cat


Girl 1: I just don't understand what fishing is for.

Girl 2: I don't know. Food, maybe?


Guy: I’m just gonna have to like carry an entire box of spiders up the hill tomorrow.

Girl: What?

Guy: Yeah, just like a hundred spiders in a box.


Guy 1: Sometimes ya just gotta give yourself a haircut.

Guy 2: Dude, you shaved half your head. That’s not a haircut, that’s a mess.


Girl 1: Can you eat fruit raw?

Girl 2: How else are you supposed to eat it?


Girl: That class is killing us. ​But they say rest is for the dead.

Guy: Well, at least we'll be rested.


Girl: She's not in class this semester

Guy: Maybe she's dead

Girl: Or studying abroad