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Cool Clothing Brands From Our Youth That We Thought Would Last Forever

shopping mall in the 90s
Bill Pugliano, Getty Images

Earlier this week, Justin Bieber met the Prime Minister of Canada dressed in overalls. Not only was his wardrobe choice a blast from the past, he even had one of the straps unhooked. Unhooking one of your overall straps and letting it hang was a popular early 90′s fashion trend that was so cool at the time, that if someone said that we would be laughing at it in 2012, they would be called a fool.

After smirking at Bieber’s fit for about 4 seconds, I started to wonder: “What other fashion trends from our youth did we think would last forever, but are totally wack now – or nonexistent?” Don’t get it twisted, brands like Ralph Lauren, GAP, Nike, and many others have stood the test of time and remained relevant since our childhood – but others – like Bieber’s Osh Kosh B’gosh look – are now just laughable.

Here are a few brands guaranteed to stir up some nostalgia. At some point or another, many people thought these brands were just the coolest things on the planet, and would never die.

Bugle Boy Jeans

Bugle Boy jeans were hot in the enjoyed growing success in the 80s, getting extremely hot towards the end of the decade and into the 90s. I can still remember seeing this iconic Bugle Boy commercial like it was yesterday. Too bad the brand went bankrupt in 2001.

Arizona Jean Co.

If your parents were like mine, any trip to the mall never made it past the department stores that surrounded the actual mall itself. One of those stores was JC Penney, and inside of JC Penney was their store brand Arizona Jean Co. What was cool about Arizona is that they managed to carry a decent style of denim without the insane price tags a la Girbaud, Guess and other popular designer jeans at the time. Mom dug the prices, and your jeans weren’t coming from Kmart. Everyone won.

Hollister

I can remember the day Lafayette, LA got a Hollister store in the Mall of Acadiana like it was yesterday. You should be able to remember it too. Just think about when you noticed every teenager in a 50 mile radius dressing like we had a beach in town. Hollister was an Abercrombie & Fitch brand that focused on appealing to ages 14-18, so it was pretty fitting that they were put next door to each other in the mall. Hollister is shutting its doors at the end of the year, and Abercrombie closed theirs last year. Welp.

Kappa

An italian company that started out making underwear was hot during the era of silky sweats made popular by other companies like Adidas, and Nike. A lot of soccer players rocked Kappa, plus the sideboob from the chick in the logo was kinda cool too.

AND 1

Do you remember that period of time where street ball was more popular than NBA basketball? I do, and AND 1 was at the center of it all with their shoes and apparel that featured catchy slogans and a faceless mascot. At the height of their popularity, they distributed videos featuring low quality clips of street ball tricks, dunks and sick plays called AND 1 “Mix Tapes.” The brand isn’t that hot of a commodity anymore now that we have Google, YouTube and LeBron James.

Big Dogs

Quality. Value. Fun. That is the Big Dogs way. Think of their brand as Big Johnson, without all the raunchiness. You can still get your Big Dogs apparel in all different colors, styles and sizes today, though the brand isn’t nearly as possible as it once was. Plus, all the models on their website are dogs. Seriously. Look.

Unionbay

Unionbay told us that if we wanted to be cool, then we had to wear their clothing. Unionbay taught us that wearing their clothes meant we knew how to think for ourselves – but not take ourselves too seriously. Wearing Unionbay meant we were a step ahead of the latest trends, and a step outside the mainstream. Then we grew up, and stopped wearing Unionbay, because we realized it wasn’t really cool.

Big Johnson

I honestly don’t know how there was a time that Big Johnson shirts were actually allowed on middle/high school grounds. I can still remember them hanging in mall stores, like Foot Locker. These things were popular – and mad rude. If you still wanna rock their chauvinistic styles, you can get em here. 

Izod

Izod used to be the second choice to that Tommy Hilfiger, or Polo shirt that your mom did NOT want to spend the big bucks on – but they were still kinda fly. You can still cop Izod shirts at Macy’s and other fine retailers, but do you? Didn’t think so.

Umbro

Before those Nike shorts you see all over college campuses reigned supreme – and even before those Soffe trashbag shorts were the go-to for females – Umbros were the real deal. They were made for both guys and girls, but looked way hotter on chicks. Every guys 7th grade crush looked “fine” in a pair of Umbros, bro.

Eddie Bauer

Before Abercrombie and Hollister hit the Mall of Acadiana, if you wanted to dress fresh you took a trip to Eddie Bauer. Their classic looks were a go-to if you needed something that looked “nice” but was still comfortable. I swear, my senior pictures are in Eddie Bauer shirts. They even had that edition of the Ford Explorer. That’s how you know they were on top of their game.

No Fear

This shirt defined an era of badasses. Their tees featured slogans like: “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!” If it wasn’t related to the fear of death, their slogans often dealt with lack of laziness and contempt for social norms and the law. They actually still sell apparel at this website, but in 2011 they faced their biggest fear by filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Starter

Hey man, no offense to Walmart, but that is the last place I thought I’d ever see the Starter brand. From hats to their signature poofy jackets, they were on point back in the 80s into the 90s. They were even the official sponsor of the Olympic games in 1996. Around 2000 they signed a deal with Walmart, and lowered their price point. They somehow went from here, to Tony Romo. But they have seen quite the increase in demand now that snapbacks are in style again.

Jnco

BIG PANTS. Remember when it was cool to let your legs breathe? Jnco was the go-to denim for skaters, ravers, and people who considered themselves to be hardcore. Their characteristics featured ultra-wide legs, cartoon art, and ridiculously large back pockets. There is rumor that these pants might be making a comeback, but only time will tell.

B.U.M. Equipment

Between the late 80s and mid-90s, if you weren’t wearing B.U.M. Equipment, then you weren’t really “bumming.” When the trend of casually dressing down was in, these guys were the experts. Somehow, they still make clothing to this day, but it’s an entirely different look that even real bums would probably think twice about wearing.

Lugz

Can you believe that it’s been almost 20 years since Lugz hit the scene back in October of 1993? They started with two styles of boots, a quilted vest and a pair of jeans. Soon they paired up with the likes of Funkmaster Flex and Birdman through endorsement deals. Most recently, they have dipped their toe into the the MMA scene, signing UFC fighters. Whatever works, right?

Quicksilver

In a family of brands consisting of DC and Roxy, Quicksilver has been around for 40 years with its casual looks inspired by the boarding lifestyle. From boardshorts, to graphic tees,  it was something I remember wanting, and I’ve never even stepped foot on a surfboard. And I probably never will.

Did you rock any of these brands? Did you think that they would last forever, or at least longer than they did? Tell us in the comments below, and if we missed any good ones, tell us those too!

 

NEXT: THE 50 GREATEST CLOTHING BRANDS OF OUR YOUTH

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