Fashion : A SPECIAL REPORT: SPRING INTO FALL : Choice Cuts : Crossing Over Into Etchings, Lines and Fades : Youth: Anglo, Latino and Asian males are trying out the easy-care haircuts blacks have been wearing for years.

E tchings, lines, box cuts and fades have been the bywords of black men’s hair fashion for almost five years. No big news. But recently young Anglo, Asian and Latino males have been heading for salons that cater to a predominantly black clientele to get the same styles.

“Why not?” asks Tim Stang, 30, of Canoga Park, who just had his thick, straight blond hair shaped into a long crew cut on top, with the sides trimmed to mere fuzz and the back left relatively long but dramatically square (a “box cut,” in salon talk).

“Black guys have wanted to wear their hair like white guys, now white guys want the black look,” Stang says after having his hair cut by Erik Vergara at Chocolate Hair Salon in the Mid-Wilshire district.

But this isn’t the first time white males have borrowed black styles. In the ‘60s, Anglos with kinky hair liberated their tiny curls with the Afro look and some opted for tight perms to affect the style. Recently surfers and skateboarders have taken to wearing dreadlocks, the long, twisted curls traditionally worn as a symbol of the Rastafarian faith.


How to define this newest ethnic crossover look? When thin stripes of scalp are exposed, those are “lines.” If pictures of Mickey Mouse or the Manhattan skyline (or anything else) turn up on the back of the head, those are “etchings.” When the sides are cut so close that the hair almost disappears, that’s a “fade.”

Carolyn Yelverton, assistant manager and a senior cutter at Chocolate Hair, where these intricate cuts cost about $20, says: “More and more Caucasians are coming in and asking for lines and fades because the styles are so easy to take care of. We’ve been doing these styles on doctors from Cedars-Sinai, surfers, students from UCLA and USC, even hairdressers from other salons.”