Alongside FUCT and Stussy, X-Large is without a doubt one of the most important O.G streetwear brands. Starting in Los Angeles in 1991, the brand captured that golden period of 90’s streetwear perfectly. Beastie Boys were one of the first to adopt the famous (and no doubt indebted to Ben Davis) Gorilla logo; indeed Mike D was one of the original business partners at X-Large. The Beastie Boys/X-Large connection has helped shift a load of t-shirts in its time, but how far did the band’s involvement go? Digging about a little brings up a really in-depth article on Beastiemania.com (definitely worth a read). From that article I gathered that in a September 1998 issue of Spin magazine, Bob Mack (former Grand Royal magazine editor) said the following about Mike Diamond’s early involvement in X-Large. “…that’s how X-Large got started. Mike D was the brainstorm behind it…not really the money, but the seed. He kept on thinking and the whole Grand Royal concept emerged. It’s about them not really being a band, but more like a cultural thing, a way of life.”
Following the Beasties tour of Japan for ‘Check Your Head’ in 1992, a second X-Large store opened in Tokyo in December of that year. It was here that the brand experienced something of a second flourishing, and for years the Japanese market kept the brand alive (check out the upcoming Converse collaboration HERE for proof of the brand’s enduring appeal in Asia). Having seen a few iffy attempts at resurrecting the brand stateside in recent years, we had all but given up hope of seeing X-Large on our shores again. We’re glad though that for Fall 2013 the brand is back with a vengeance, distribution has been sorted out and X-Large has returned to the UK properly. We here at Urban Industry will be offering a great range of X-Large t-shirts, crew, hoodies and accessories. Having seen the linesheets for the seasons ahead, it’s safe to say the brand will have some very interesting things in the pipeline too!
You could argue that bands like the Beastie Boys have defined modern streetwear as we know it today. In this short interview, Mike D talks about making certain fashion items your own and pioneering that look. Certainly their love of Ben Davis work clothes, Puma and X-Large amongst others helped elevate these brands into the modern notion of what streetwear is about. Much like their music borrowed from hip-hop, punk, funk and more; Beastie Boys style pulled together styles from all over the place – the old-school Puma and adidas trainers, the baggy pants, nylon coaches jackets. All of these looks we owe to Mike D, Ad-Rock and the late Adam Yauch. For that fact alone, we’re glad to have X-Large back in stock here at Urban Industry
(p.s. while you’re at it check out this incredibly odd X-Large video starring a young John C. Reilly HERE)
(p.p.s Gary Warnett wrote better on this subject better than I could ever muster HERE)