Why were JNCO Jeans such a huge part of nu-metal fashion? Who made baggy jeans famous, and why are they in style again today?

The JNCO Jeans brand was established in 1985, and their popularity skyrocketed in the '90s. According to the JNCO website, "a landscape of art influenced by diverse urban culture, sports, music and the 'unconventional' transformed the brand into a national, and then worldwide phenomenon."

In this post, we'll explore the history of JNCO and baggy jeans, how they became associated with nu-metal and '90s fashion, and why they're popular again in the 2020s.

The History of JNCO Jeans

According to Mental Floss, JNCO was founded in the '80s by brothers Haim and Yaakov Revah, who were born in Morocco, and they initially named the company Revatex. Los Angeles graffiti artist Joseph Montalvo helped them come up with the name JNCO and its logo, but they never clarified what the acronym stood for.

The wide-legged JNCO jeans were first introduced to retailers in 1993, but it wasn't until later in the decade that they became popularized.

Who Made Baggy Jeans Famous?

Before we get into how JNCO became popular, we should highlight the artist that's known for making baggy jeans popular — MC Hammer. The rapper wore bright-colored baggy pants in the video for the 1990 hit "U Can't Touch This," and several sources cite it as the reason baggy pants became trendy.

Hammer's baggy pants, which were extra roomy in the waist area and tapered at the ankles, became known as "Hammer pants." But other rappers and hip-hop artists such as Kris Kross, Tupac, N.W.A and Snoop Dogg helped popularize baggy clothing in the '90s as well, thus the style was embraced by fashion designers and made its way into the mainstream.

MC Hammer, 'U Can't Touch This'

Who Made JNCO Jeans Popular?

Now that we know the history of the JNCO brand and why baggy clothing was popular in the '90s, we can get into how JNCO jeans, specifically, made their way into mainstream fashion.

In the latter half of the '90s, the Revah brothers sought help from a marketing expert named Steven Sternberg, who helped introduce the jeans to skateboarders and surfers, as noted by Mental Floss. They were practical for skateboarders, but for angsty teenagers, they were simply cool.

Thus, retailers such as Ron Jon Surf Shop, Pacific Sunwear (Pac Sun) and Hot Topic started selling JNCO jeans, and their unique shape became a symbol of rebellion. Thrasher Magazine had ads for JNCO, and the brand recruited breakdancers, DJs and rap-rock groups — such as Limp Bizkit — to help promote them.

Fred Durst posing in front of car
Gregory Bojorquez, Getty Images

Mental Floss' article on JNCO jeans notes that the brand's sales in 1995 were about $36 million, and by 1998, they had sold $186.9 million in jeans. A survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited in '98 said that teenagers named JNCO the 12th "coolest brand."

Why JNCO Jeans Became Part of Nu-Metal Fashion

There isn't an exact answer as to how JNCO jeans became associated with nu-metal fashion. But given that those artists drew inspiration from hip-hop groups and rappers that came before them, it makes sense that they emulated hip-hop fashion trends as well.

Plus, given the popularity of the JNCO brand in the late '90s, it made sense for nu-metal musicians to wear them, just as flannels, oversized jackets and Dr. Marten's were staples for grunge musicians.

READ MORE: 17 Trends That Defined the Evolution of Fashion in Rock + Metal

Korn apparently didn't own them, though. Frontman Jonathan Davis told Seattle's KISW [via Kerrang!] in  2019, "I never wore JNCOs... I can honestly say I did not partake in it."

Linkin Park

Mick Hutson, Getty Images
Mick Hutson, Getty Images

What Happened to JNCO Jeans in the 2000s?

As with most fashion fads, JNCO jeans eventually went out of style. By 1999, their sales dropped down to around $100 million. The jeans were being sold in major retailers, and thus lost their element of cool since they were so available.

By the turn of the millennium, low-rise and bootcut jeans became the new most-desired style, and the massive JNCO jeans were scoffed at.

Are JNCO Jeans Back?

One thing many of us probably didn't see coming in the 2020s was the resurgence in nu-metal culture and fashion — particularly JNCO jeans. While you can still buy the OG baggy jeans, they are certainly pricey, with styles priced from $130 to almost $300 a pair.

Other brands have taken note of the desire for roomier, more comfortable jeans though, especially in women's fashion. Thus, straight jeans, wide-leg jeans, "relaxed," loose and baggy jeans are all in style again.

READ MORE: You'll Kick Yourself For Tossing Your JNCO Jeans When You See How Much They Sell For

"Baggy jeans really hit the scene as a hip-hop staple when MC Hammer debuted his Hammer pants," fashion expert Bella Gerard told InStyle of the return of baggy jeans in 2023.

"The concept of a harem-style silhouette done in denim began as a staple amongst rappers and skaters first, but it didn't take long for mainstream celebrities to favor this edgy, oversized take on an Americana classic."

Today's fashion trends are controlled by influencers on social media platforms, especially TikTok, so it doesn't take long for the old to become new again.

2023 Variety Hitmakers Brunch - Arrivals
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Every 'Big 4' Nu-Metal Album, Ranked From Worst to Best

Between Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and System of a Down — indeed, the "Big 4" bands of nu-metal — how do all their albums stack up when ranked together? It's no walk in the park pitting these discographies against each other. Read below to see every album by nu-metal's "Big 4," ranked from worst to best.

Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp + Chad Childers