Caribbean culture website Largeup.com recently published our collaborative article on the resurgence of an iconic Jamaican staple, the mesh marina. In the the article we chronicle the garment’s popularity amongst the rude boys of the sixties and seventies all the way to the nineties dancehall dons and to current day’s recycling of the retro style. During our research for the article we spoke with local tastemakers reggae artiste Protoje, designer James Black, DJ Walshy Fire of Major Lazer and Filmmaker Jay Will about their memories of the mesh marina of days past and how Jamaica’s iconic style history has impacted their present style. Read the previously unpublished quotes from the interviews below and read the full article, “Jamaica’s Love Affair with the Mesh Marina” on Largeup.com.
“I just remember my father. I’m born in the late seventies by the time I was getting into my teens, the nineties, just seeing how my dad dressed. My dad always had his Clarks, him pant […], and mesh marina. It was just how people dressed, you know. Also just seeing a lot of the older guys around, it wasn’t such a fad, it just seemed more of an everyday way of life because everyone had a mesh marina.” – Filmmaker Jay Will
“I was going to my flea market and getting my mesh marinas spray painted on so I could look different from everybody else. I would spray paint it with a soccer ball print all over it, so when I would go to the club, everybody was like, ‘where did you get that mesh marina?’ Nobody had seen a soccer ball mesh marina. They thought I had to buy it like that. After I washed it two times then it looked just horrible. I didn’t know what graffiti ink was at the time. It was around the time of BBD’s “Poison” and spray-painting your jeans, when black Americans were wearing polka dots and spray-painted jean-thing. Ones with sleeves, I had a lot of those, and you would wear it with a regular mesh marina underneath. It was different colors clashing, that made no sense, and it was awesome.” – DJ Walshy Fire of Major Lazer
“There are certain eras where stuff was really good. There are years where nothing came out of that era but the nineties where one of those glorified eras both in music and fashion. I mean there was a lot of trends and even in dancehall. I crave the type of music that was being played around then, I mean I hardly listen to dancehall music anymore because of so much watered down crap but I actually listen to a nineties cd, I love every single song. I definitely was influenced by that [for “Bumaye”]. Especially the style and fashion, not just with dancehall but you find it in hip hop. A lot of the styles, that was happening in American in the nineties, people are bringing that back .”- Filmmaker Jay Will
“I find that I love that retro, old school Jamaican vibe, I love the street style of Jamaica and somehow try to incorporate it with my own style to make it chic, make it cool at the end of the day. “- Designer James Black
“Me and Chronixx were talking a couple days ago and he was like, when his father sees him going to a show, he’s like, ‘You’re not going to put on a show outfit?’ We just approach it different where we kind of merge just regular everyday wear as good enough to be on stage. I think now a days you can full well see me in something on stage but you could see me on the road going for dinner and I would have the same thing on. It’s not a stage image now and a personal life image, its kind of one thing.” – Artiste Protoje
“The swimsuits I have out now have mesh material. For my swimsuits, I was inspired so much just by, as usual, Jamaica but it’s kind of like, if someone came to Jamaica, a cool chick, what would she be wearing? She’s going to wear mesh because that’s so Jamaican but the material itself I think is so classic, its something Jamaicans have been wearing forever.” – Designer James Black