The OG Gorilla: XLARGE

You’ll find yourself in endless forks retracing the origins of streetwear. What influenced it – was it hip-hop? Was it the skate culture? Was in art and graffiti? Ultimately, even asking what even defines it.  XLarge tells a tale of two college roommates, Adam Silverman and Eli Bonerz in 1991.

Soon after being employed in an architecture firm tired of the repetitive work, Bonerz had an idea of venturing out into the realm of fashion. He grew particularly interested in accommodating to the diversity from a counterculture community. He pitched the idea to his buddy, Silverman who linked them to renowned American rapper, Mike D, of the Beastie boys. The rapper resonated with the concept, taking into account a variety of sneaker and street fashion. Lo and behold, XLarge came into life.

XLarge originally sold unmoving items from sports outlets, these included old collections from Adidas Superstars, Nike Coretz’s, Puma Clydes and even apparel from the Army shop. There was even a liquor store nearby their first flagship, the location brought about a neighborhood with gangsters and skaters too. All these elements aligned to the expression of that LA street style.

The two ventured in creating their own merchandise and original designs, their first tee was the “Original Store T-shirt” was handmade and silkscreened and they had a few accessories to go with it too. Their infamous logo was influenced by the integration of some graffiti around the city, Ben Davis’ brand with an ape and Steven Gianako’s “Millions of Gorillas” artwork. Gianako’s was a bit doubtful giving his consent, thinking the idea would not thrive especially in the fashion industry. But as soon as they got the go signal, they spiced up the logo with the fattest typeface Futura Extra Bold. The logo itself resonated with everyone, and well, that iconic logo made history.

A little later, they partnered with Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth’s brand director, Sofia Coppola who at that time was an emerging photographer to create a by-product X-Girl. The same year, they also launched X-FUCT, which was another collaboration by a number of streetwear geniuses. But soon after, this fell apart as there were too many opinions on how things should run. That didn’t stop XLarge’s emergence, they continued to produce more merchandise and grew rapidly through the years.

 

Fast forward to 2008, Bonerz made a difficult decision to sell the brand to B’s International, a Japanese distributor. The year after, the company had adjusted to the Japanese as their market. Not long after that, the OG streetwear shop in Los Angeles came into a close. That pronounced the store running for 22 years. Despite its sentimental closing, the brand and its story continues to lives on today. Still thriving through various streetwear stores, Akimbo included, and all around the Globe. It’s boldness, its fresh artistic sense and lifestyle still resonates up to this day. As Rin Tanaka puts it, XLarge 1991 – future.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published