By Mariana JULIACI DE AMORIM (2EA)
Thanks to his charisma, gender-bending style and old school rock inspired music, Harry Styles has made a strong comeback after One Direction’s hiatus in 2016. The former boy band member debuted as a solo artist three years ago, with the release of his self-titled album on May 12th 2017. From there, nothing has stopped him.
Harry Styles was born on February 1st 1994 in the small English town of Bromsgrove. Ever since, the star has proven that he was indeed born for the spotlight. He was the lead singer in a band called White Eskimo, formed by Styles himself and three of his friends in high school. As a teenager, he would work at the W. Mandeville Bakery in Holmes Chapel, the town he grew up in, after school and on weekends. In 2010, at the age of 16, he decided to audition for the UK XFactor, which clearly ended up changing his life forever.
THE RISE TO STARDOM
ONE DIRECTION: THE BEGINNING
One Direction was undoubtedly one of the most important parts in Styles’ career. The band became an overnight sensation and gained instant success as soon as it formed. Their very first album, which came out in November 2011, and all of their albums after until 2015 were best sellers not only in the United Kingdom but in the United States as well. With his curly hair, skinny black jeans and vibrant smile, the youngest member quickly turned into a favorite amongst the so-called “Directioners”.
STYLES’ CAREER AFTER THE BAND
The single “Sign of the Times” launched Styles in the music industry as a solo artist in 2017. His debut album unsurprisingly occupied the first spot on charts. With the release of his next single “Lights Up” in October 2019 and his second album “Fine Line” coming shortly after, he gathered over 32, 4 million followers on Instagram and 41 million monthly listeners on Spotify, making him the 20th most-streamed artist on the platform and one of the most well-known artists in today’s industry (all of this over the course of just two years).
But what makes Styles so special? Why do millions of fangirls all over the globe gush over him and his art every day? According to Amelie Adams, a Harry Styles super fan, it is because “his music is different, his style is different; everything about him is just super unique!” According to fans like her, what makes the singer so likeable is his individuality, whether it’s music-wise, fashion-wise or attitude-wise.
From the beginning of his solo debut, Styles has been experimental and adventurous with his music. He gets inspiration from 70s Rock stars like Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, and Paul McCartney. “His songs are never really repetitive and you just never get tired of him honestly,” Amelie continues. His second album, “Fine Line”, which came out in late 2019, is considered a mix of vintage 70s SoCal soft rock, pop and folk. Styles’ new approach of music ended up surprising people in a positive way: this probably was not the type of music expected from an ex-boyband member!
Another thing that emerged with the release of his first album was his new fashion style. Just like his music, this fashion sense also ended up surprising people. His style incorporates fashion movements from the 60s and 70s, with lots of velvet suits decorated by motifs and embroideries, paired with the classic bellbottom trousers. Styles has been wearing multiple high fashion brands on red carpets, like Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry and Gucci, for years now. However, it was only until June 2018 that the singer worked with Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, becoming the face of the brand. This made him a major player in the fashion industry. He has also worked with Harris Reed, a gender-fluid designer. Rebuking gendered style is one of the many things Harry Styles is known for today. The singer refuses to follow gender norms and stereotypes. He does this by wearing dresses and skirts during photoshoots and by painting his nails. Styles is also a natural trend-setter: he opens the way for multiple trends, like pearl necklaces, multi-colored nails and funky sweaters and cardigans.
Styles has always been known for being a respectful person. He uses his huge platform to spread messages of acceptance and equality. “Treat people with kindness” is his slogan and is used in many of his merchandise since 2017. From helping one of his fans come out to her parents to waving pride flags during his concerts, he shows his support to the LGBTQ+ community in various ways. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Grace, a fan who attended Styles’ show in San Jose in July 2018 and came out to her parents thanks to the singer, says that “ He’s made a lot of fans feel comfortable and proud to be who they are and I’m just one example of that.”
It is safe to say that Harry Styles is going to be a memorable artist, admired by future generations, and will leave his trace in the history of music and fashion.