Writer: Mark Edwards


Believe it or not, there was a time when there was no negativity attached to baggy pants. 

However, by the early 90’s oversized pants had become synonymous with gang culture; the 90’s saw the rise of the gangsta rap genre, which birthed artists such as 2 Pac, Nas, and Snoop Dogg. 

And by the late 90’, fashion, more specifically streetwear, had unintentionally crossed over into the political sphere. 

As a result, “Anti-Sagging” campaigns ran through the 90’s and early 2000’s; one of many strategies used to seemingly target and penalize black youths. 

The style found its foothold in the prison system as prisoners were often given oversized clothes and no belts. Thus, its ties to criminal behavior was forever cemented. 

And while many have come to associate sagging pants with the prison system, there are some who believe the style garnered its bad rep because it was used to signify a person’s sexuality. 

That, however, is pure myth.

Regardless of what history you choose to believe as it relates to sagging pants, the criminalization of this style opened the door for targeted discrimination against African Americans. 

Ironically, a style that came out of the prison system was being used to put people in the prison system.

To offer some insight on how deleterious the criminalization of sagging pants was to the African American community, a law was passed in Louisiana in 2007 banning individuals from sagging their pants.

The ban led to the arrest of 711 men, 96% of whom were African Americans; 699 black men to 12 white men. 

The ban was recently repealed after a Shreveport officer shot a black man, Anthony Childs, in an attempt to stop Childs from sagging his pants. 

But while oversized pants no longer seem to be the style of choice, the rise in popularity of skinny jeans has created a new wave of sagging. Today, you can see celebrities like Justin Bieber and Drake sagging in their fitted jeans; a fashion statement that has yet to spur an anti-sagging campaign.

With laws being repealed, campaigns dying, and Hip-Hop now fully mainstream, the stigma behind baggy streetwear is fading. 

As of late, oversized streetwear has seemed to gain momentum within mainstream pop culture, thanks in large part to artists such as Billie Ellish and Ariana Grande; oversized hoodies, t-shirts, and jackets have been popping up on television and social media alike.

And If you find yourself interested in delving into the oversized trend, consider some of the latest looks from Cross Colours, one of the originators of oversized streetwear.