Jul 25, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
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Jun 28, 2016
TJ Marsh (aka Big Baggy Jesus) has been quite busy the last few weeks, within a matter of months his business took off, and this could not have come at a better time for him.
His Instagram page (@bigbaggyjesus) is flooded with the meanest imagery of his ‘all-baggy-everything’ denim- bye bye skinny jeans! This more relaxed looser style has been heavily trending on the pre-summer 2017 and S/S 2017 runway collections, so the consumer fever for the product is high.
We got a chance to catch up with the San Fransisco based baggy-jean fanatic to chat about his obsession with baggy denim, how he got his business started, his influences, and what he pairs with a good ol’ pair of beyond baggy jeans.
How did your passion for baggy denim start?
Thank you, I am quite surprised at how fast this all came together, I knew something was about to happen but had no idea people were so ready.
For me this has been a life-long obsession, I’ve always been into clothing. Growing up my inspirations came from the older guys in my neighbourhood or artists like Snoop Dogg. Back then all I wanted to wear was Levi’s® 501 Shrink to fit (obviously left rigid) or brands like Dickie’s and Ben Davis. Unfortunately none of those brands made readily available product for kids, so it was either buy men’s sizes or nothing at all — the choice was easy.
When did you realise you were on to something?
It wasn’t until last October while I was at a flea market in Santa Rosa, CA when I saw a trunk full of Silvertab “baggy” jeans that I begin to think about the comeback. That day I threw up my first post calling out the baggy revival on my personal account. At first I approached it ironically. But over the next few months I got more and more obsessed, snatching up everything I could fun. Then between mid-October and March 27th (Easter Sunday), when I launched Big Baggy Jesus as the official resurrection of baggy, three major things happened. The first was when I started seeing a ton of old 90’s skate pics and videos starting to trend on Instagram. The second was one night while I was surfing the explore page I came across Tamara Grunberg @rickrafsimons out of Vancouver and Spike Lamy @gutsquisher from Quebec. They were probably the first two I saw interpreting that 90’s baggy vibe into their daily looks. Since then it’s exploded I’m meeting new people every day- really building a community around this fashion movement.
Do you think this is a fad? A movement? Or a culture?
Baggy, loose, wide, oversized and exaggerated fits have been used to make many visual statements on the runway for as long as I can remember. Like anything else in high fashion, someone pioneers a look, others follow suit, someone breaks out and so the cycle goes. So in that regard sure it’s probably a fad.
But in the real world I feel this new affinity for baggy and oversized clothing is more of a generational shift in culture. It’s a simple fact, by nature, the youth want to rebel and at its core one’s style is the ultimate self-expression. Oversized clothing has been the go-to uniform of rebellion since the 1930’s with the young Pachuco’s and their zoot suits. Currently we find ourselves in a time where majority of the general populous is wearing slim fits, what better way to make that statement of rebellion than by wearing a big baggy pair of jeans? Like anything else it’s a momentary movement. I am just stoked to be a part of it.
What is your favourite item to pair with a good’ ol pair of oversized jeans?
Everything! That’s what’s awesome about denim in general. They go with anything. I always build my outfit around the pants. If I had to pick the one consistent piece it would be my Levi’s stretch belt. The flexibility makes distributing a super upsized waist so much easier. I can manage a full 18 inches over my normal waist size without any issues.
Any favourite vintage shops in SF you mind sharing with us?
Slash in Berkeley, Gin Rummage in Oakland, Goodwill everywhere. But my favourite spots are old mom and pop surplus shops, which aren’t impossible to find. I can’t give up all of my sources, but if I had to pick one it’d be Victory Surplus in Vallejo, CA – family owned since 1945 and a true surplus of all the clothing I love.
If you know what to look for or how to ask, you would be amazed at what you can find – tons of 90’s dead stock Made in USA Dickies, discontinued Ben Davis colors, Lowrider Brand, Frisko Bens, Solo’s… you name it, you just have to know where to look.
Who (if any) do you think is revolutionising denim fashion? Who are your influences?
I am aware of what is going on and have the utmost respect for any one doing their thing, but nothing out there really blows me away. UNIF has been doing some cool stuff for women’s with a proper Moxie Girl / Delia’s vibe. Some of the trousers Demna Gvasalia did with his Balenciaga debut were dope. It’s cool to see designers playing with baggy silhouettes; that kind of stuff only further confirms the movement. But as far as following directly, I tend not to. I just want to focus on myself and the people around me.
Over the past few months I’ve built a really strong collective of people from around the world that I met online. We speak to each other daily in a group DM on Instagram. Thanks to the Internet I’ve been able to build a community around my passion. For me, these people are my inspiration way more than any specific designer. For me they are the ones revolutionizing fashion in a real way. They set the pace before an actual brand or designer even has the time to catch up and deliver something they have already been doing. At the moment it’s only conversation, I manage Big Baggy Jesus on my own but they are sharing ideas, contributing content, representing and spreading the good word worldwide, check them out:
Rhiannon Boyd (@rhi_eb) Belfast, Ireland fashion design and airbrush
Tamara Grunberg (@rickrafsimons) Vancouver, Canada fashion design, Cherrish Sport
Ben Karpenchuk (@freckleface_1) Kansas City, USA
Daniel Kocon (@69classic) Ontario, Canada
Spike Lamy (@gutsquisher) MTL Quebec, Canada
Chris Misenti (@bad.internet) Connecticut, USA
Luca Gendre (@kaiphinoo) United Kindom
David Karpenchuk (@where_he_attho) Kansas City, USA
Lucas Knight (@better_off_dad) New York, USA
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