Mike D and King Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys in 1992.
Season: 4 Episode: 15
Title: Summer ’92
Original Airdate: 6/17/92
Appearances: Mike D and King Ad-Rock (The Beastie Boys)
STREET STYLE: BEASTIE BOYS AND THE X-LARGE STORE
Founded in 1991, X-Large was a monster on the streetwear scene. The brand had flagship stores on Vermont Street in Los Angeles and on Lafayette in Manhattan (now shuttered), and were considered the originator of the ape logo despite BAPE being super famous for theirs. It’s also known as The Beastie Boys’ store because Mike D was one of the original founders. His role evolved throughout the years but the any ideas that the brand was just a Beastie Boys vanity project unfairly marginalizes co-founders and designers Eli Bonerz and his college pal Adam Silverman. That the X-Large brand continues to exist is a testament to how strongly the store and their business philosophy resonated with kids at the time. (X-Girl, Kim Gordon’s sister-store venture, would come a couple of years later.)
In this clip, Mike D and Ad-Rock talk about the fashion of “anti-fashion” and about championing deadstock sneaker classics, baggy pants and what “some people would call… a T-shirt.” It’s a cheeky swipe at the fashion establishment, but more important, it’s a view into the streetwear world. Ad-Rock and Mike D go into extreme detail to show off graphics on tees and features on pants. The whole segment predates the limited-edition streetwear mania that would entrance the youth of both coasts, who’d then spend nights sleeping in front of stores for select apparel and shoes. Plus, it was heartening to consider that kids who looked and spoke like stoop-sitting, parking lot-inhabiting, rap-listening derelicts could create a viable commercial venture based on the philosophy of selling what they wanted to wear. There’s a great interview with Eli talking about the early days here.
Another reason the X-Large L.A. store was important is because it’s where the Menace skate crew hung out. Billy Valdes, the kid who talks about baggy pants in this piece, was a member of the ragtag team led by Kareem Campbell, who had deep ties within the established skate community, but sponsored a motley bunch through Menace. For more, watch this amazing “Epicly Latered” about Menace on Vice.
There’s also a great Big Brother interview with Billy (who you may also recognize as Stanly from Kids).
Though X-Large was a store, a brand, and a logo championed by Mike D on every international Beastie Boys tour, it was also, in the classic sense of a downtown store, very much a clubhouse where kids with common interests met up and hung out. Two years after the opening, in 1994, Supreme would open their store on Lafayette on the same side of the street cementing the area as a cool-guy loitering zone. And while X-Large still exists, the legacy of its early days serve as a call to arms throughout the decade and the one after for every hypebeast with a laptop to start a graphic tee line.
+ THE BEASTIE BOYS AND X-LARGE
RISE OF THE SUPERMODEL: CINDY CRAWFORD AS A PEPSI SPOKESMODEL
Cindy Crawford on the set of her Pepsi commercial shoot in 1992.
The Cola Wars were raging. Pepsi was the “Choice of a New Generation” and “New Coke” had been rebranded Coca-Cola II. We’re on set with the newly appointed Pepsi spokesmodel, Cindy Crawford, to shoot a series of soon-to-be-iconic TV commercials with director Joe Pytka. It’s a grueling process with multiple outfit changes (a skintight white dress is deemed too racy because it’s see-through), and Cindy is professional and patient despite the director’s reputed disdain for models: “He’s been known to call models Bim and Bo,” she says. “He goes, ’Yo, Bim; Bo, get over here.’”
The spots feature Cindy in various situations, but the most memorable is the spot that aired during the 1992 Super Bowl. In every advertisement on the four-day shoot, Cindy is treated like a movie star, and if she wasn’t already considered a national icon, this certainly cemented her popularity with the 79.6 millions of people who watched the Super Bowl that year.