Leg warmers, fingerless gloves, shoulder pads, and spandex may be forgotten fads from the '80s, but one trend from the era is making a bit of a comeback. Last Saturday, Minnesotans showed their support for Zubaz pants with local Zubaz businessmen Bob Truax and Dan Stock, at Zubazpalooza.
[jump] During the evening, bar-hoppers cruised the Warehouse District while wearing Zubaz pants, Zubazpalooza t-shirts, and zebra-striped headbands. They celebrated at the Ugly Mug, Kieran's Irish Pub, and Sneaky Pete's. Truax and Stock say that the purpose of the bar crawl was to have a good time and to raise funds (a portion of the proceeds from the event went to Minneapolis tornado victims).
The two men started their Zubaz business back in 1988 out of a gym that they owned in Minnesota. People immediately loved how comfortable the pants were, and enjoyed the wacky prints.
"We started to do crazy prints. The wilder the print, the more they sold," Stock says. "The zebra print has been the most popular, and is our best seller."
Over the next five years, the company grew. Zubaz became licensed with sports leagues and gained endorsements from professional athletes. They sold the business in 1996, but three years ago decided to bring them back. They believe that comfort is one of the main reasons why people are still wearing the pants 23 years later.
"The biggest thing that we have going versus what other people call fads is that Zubaz are really comfortable," Stock says. "Fads that are uncomfortable or unflattering come and go."
College and high school students make up the majority of the Zubaz demographic, with sports teams ordering pants in their school colors. Sports fans like Pete Hanson represent their favorite professional teams with Zubaz. Hanson's favorite pair are his purple-and-gold pants in support of the Vikings, and his blue-and-red pants in honor of the Twins. Hanson has worn Zubaz his whole life and even wore them while he was serving in the marines in Iraq.
"They may not be super hip, but they're coming back," he says. "Everybody's bringing retro stuff back, so you might as well bring back the Zubaz."
Andrea Glynn drove all the way to Minnesota from Chicago for Zubazpalooza. Glynn grew up in Minnesota, and drove with her dad from Chicago to have fun and to wear her favorite pants.
"I really like Zubaz," Glynn says. "My dad used to wear them when he was younger. He showed them to me and I fell in love with them. We decided to come because I think they look really cool."