Back in the day… 1991 Eli Bonerz and Adam Silverman opened the X-LARGE Store in Los Angeles. Vermont street to be exact, a spot not too far away from the center of Hollywood. The X-LARGE store was a place that absorbed the scene around them, mix of skateboarding, rave, hiphop, jazz funk, club scene, trends vintage and new, in a time while rock/hiphop crossover bands put a spotlight on L.A. And we can’t talk about the early days without Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys. Mike D. was a huge influence on the unique concept that became X-LARGE.
The X-LARGE store had it all, from Ben Davis to Carhartt, to vintage Adidas and Puma sneakers, along with their own original line of clothing. Work wear clothing and vintage sneaks weren’t items you’d find in one store. “Ben Davis and sneakers… those were the two main elements that didn’t really necessarily fit together. You have to buy your sneakers at swap meets, your Ben Davis at the surplus store.” – Eli Bonerz
They marketed this combo as their unique fashion style as opposed just every day wear. And before you knew it, X-LARGE became a ‘look’, the beginnings of Street wear in L.A. Street wear was/is that ‘look’, music, fashion, friends... a part of the ‘scene’.
X-LARGE actually started with T-shirts because they were the easiest to make, and to this day stands as the most iconic item, the original gorilla tee. They made caps as well and continued to make their own work wear shirts, but instead of polyester, they used cotton. The boys had it all figured out by making it all about having fun and had creative ways to sell their collections. They mailed out catalogs sometimes with fun comic book-like graphics, campy covers and idiosyncratic photo shoots showcasing their latest collections. The number to call was 1-800-XLARGE1, not only toll free, but convenient, and all you needed was a credit card to order. Unfortunately, the catalogs were discontinued in 1997 when the internet took over. “Save the trees, use the internet” Now catalogs were accessed online.
X-LARGE lives on, influencing new generations of street wear with the iconic OG gorilla.