Styles Stays Impactful

Victoria Berube, Carol Marques , STAFF WRITER

Contestant #165998 is called onto the X-Factor stage and the crowd begins to cheer, expecting an ordinary performance. A 16-year old-boy, employed at a local bakery, walks on stage to sing “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. 12 years later, he’s the Grammy-award winning household name — Harry Styles.

MUSIC

Styles made his music industry debut in 2010, joining the band One Direction through X-Factor, a music competition in the U.K. Dr.Louie Dean Valencia, Associate Professor of Digital History at Texas State, who teaches the course, “Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity”, believes One Direction was necessary to Styles’ success in his multifaceted career.

In 2017, Styles made his first solo debut with the self-titled album, “Harry Styles.”

“The release of his first album was super nerve wracking,” Sophomore Victoria Hill said. “It was nothing like One Direction, it was much deeper and mature. It was so exciting to see that he was expanding in his music and doing what he likes instead of what he was used to.”

His second album, “Fine Line”, included some of his most well known songs such as Grammy winning, “Watermelon Sugar.” Followed by his most recent, “Harry’s House,” which includes “As It Was,” which has continued to break records as #1 since it’s release.

Outside the records, Styles continues his impact through the Love On Tour concerts.

“The central part of what he does in a concert is he tries to exude love to his fans for the world, but also encourages people to love themselves,” Valencia said. “It’s self-love, a wonderful fashion show and super engaging.”

Whether Styles points out merch printed with his slogan and song title, “Treat People With Kindness,” He is always pushing for positive change.

“[Styles] is important when we are trying to have better conversations about really difficult issues,” Valencia said. “He is really important when thinking about voting, all of his concerts have voting registration tables. That’s what a good artist does, is that they create art that makes people want to talk about issues that are important.”

Valencia truly believes that his in influence on this generation would not be possible if it weren’t for Styles’ willingness and connection with fans.

“He amplifies what the fans bring, and they bring this diverse inclusive space at the concerts and it just kind of grows.,” Valencia said. “It’s the ultimate fan project.”

 

FASHION

In December 2019, Styles became the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue, further making history by wearing a dress, stirring much controversy.

In spite of harsh backlash for wearing conventionally feminine clothes, Styles continued to remain unphased.

“When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers obviously you open up the arena in which you can play,” Styles said in a Vogue interview.

Once more, Styles spread his message at the 2021 Halloween Show, Harryween, dressing up as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, ruby slippers and all.

“He’s very transgressive when we’re talking about ideas of what masculinity is, how to
combat toxic masculinity,” Valencia said.

A pioneer of male fashion world, his fashion looks and red carpet appearances are highly anticipated. Styles continues to redefine gender norms, wearing a sheer ruffle shirt to the Met Gala, a handbag on red carpets, and decorating his hands with nail polish and rings.

 

ACTING

In 2017, Styles made his acting debut in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Following he was introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in the “Eternals” post-credit scene. Although Styles’ roles were small, he takes his acting to the next level in his next film.

“My Policeman” is an LGBTQ+ book set in the 1950s about a Brighton policeman coming to terms with his sexuality in an unwelcoming time. This role sheds light on the mass discrimination towards homosexuality during the 1950s and Styles’ audience brings in a large age variety for education.

 

ENTREPRENEURSHIP
In 2021, Styles took quarantine projects to another level. He announced the launch of his cosmetic company, Pleasing, in late November. The e company’s main goal is to create a fun and inclusive experience.

“I think it’s really cool that he’s showing these ideas of inclusivity by using models who are 70 year old men and people from different backgrounds, people with disabilities…” Valencia said. “It is a great model and I hope that other companies use it to try to think about how they can be more conscientious of what they do.”

Throughout any of Styles’ outreach, he intends to leave a positive impact. Whether talking about breaking gender roles and political issues, Styles always follows his slogan “Treat People With Kindness”.

“The more people that we have in the world that have a positive outlook, the better, and Harry is a great model for that,” Valencia said. “He does influence this generation, but also this generation influences him.”