It’s not really even worth starting this post by asking you if you remember Zubaz, the stretchy, neon, zebra-striped pants that typified a generation of tacky athletic-inspired fashionwear. If you’re reading this, you either remember Zubaz, because you lived through them and are probably sick of this nostalgia cycle, or you think you remember Zubaz, but really you just missed the cut but you’ve just been reading too many nostalgia-obsessed listicles around the Internet and certain things have been planted into your brain.
The NYT (ON IT!) wrote about the regenerated interest of the brand in a trend piece this week, which isn’t really a full-blown comeback for Zubaz, seeing as the brand resurrected itself in 2008 after more than a decade out of the pants-designing game. But, as Dan Stock and Bob Truax, the brains behind the pants, are continuing their efforts to repopularize the brand, they got a boost this week from the neon Adidas AdiZero zebra-striped basketball shorts that were unveiled for the NCAA Tournament. March Madness, indeed.
The instant connection was made between Adidas’ shorts (which bear a different, non-copyright-infringing pattern), but the company founders reacted positively to the association with the brand they created, for better or for worse. And as Chris Robbins writes, "Zubaz are enjoying something of a rebirth. Zubaz refuse to die." Perhaps, then, Zubaz are a metaphor for our cyclical return to everything from the years between 1990 and 1999, our "Maaaan, remember this?" means of relevancy and branding, but really the comeback isn’t a comeback at all but a brief blip on our screens and maybe some really gaudy sweatpants purchased by people who can name all three Gronkowski brothers? What do the Zubaz say about the Zeitgeist? These are the questions.
Also, this video has nothing to do with Zubaz, but still seemed fitting.