Many trends have come and gone, but most people are not aware of where the trend began or how long they will last. Most trends tend not to have long staying power. One trend that has had more than 10 years of popularity is sagging pants. Sagging pants is the art of wearing ones pants below the waist, usually hanging low enough to show underwear. There is some controversy as to where it started. So has the trend been popularized from behind prison walls? Or is it the influence of hip-hop?
One theory of how sagging pants originated is from prison in the 1990s. Prisoners are given oversized uniforms without belts. Belts are a popular way to commit suicide; by hanging oneself, to hang others, or to be used as a weapon in fights. Other reason is that when they wear their pants below the waist is that it is sign that says that they are homosexual.
Sagging pants were not meant to be trend for the males. The other reason was that wearing your pants below your waist states that you were another inmate’s property. The inmate who related the story was an elderly black gentleman who had been sentenced to life in prison and had been there for over fifty years. He marveled how such a mark of shame has become a fashion statement. He says “that younger inmates don't believe him when he tells them, but swears it's the truth”.
The trend has been contributed to the influence of the music industry. Many artists, in the hip-hop genre, were known for letting their pants sag. It became more common to see rappers, like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog and Lil Wayne, in a video with their pants sagging to right at below their hips. It became even more popular as these same rappers began their own clothing labels. Clothing labels, like Phat Farm, Ecko and FUBU, are known for not even offering a small sized men’s shirt.
The characteristic of the low-slung look became mainstream and took off during the early 1990's when Calvin Klein used rapper Marky Mark in their advertising campaign for underwear. This advertising campaign was the first glimpse of men showing their underwear in a sexy way.
The sagging pants trend made way to skateboarders in the suburbs and high school hallways. Work wear brands such as Dickies and Ben Davies designed baggy clothing that became popular with skateboarders
As the trend grew, it began to influence the styles of jeans. Low-rise jeans are intended to sit low on, or below, the hips. More men and women began to wear underwear to function with their low-rise jeans. However, the look has been predominantly male and the recent trend for women to reveal their G-string underwear. Low-rise jeans may be worn to display more skin at the waist, torso, and hips. Low-rise jeans may also partially reveal the buttocks when the wearer sits down or bends over. Cleavage becomes visible.
For more information on Sagging Pants: Laws, Designer, Stereotypes.