The 80s and 90s, what a time to be alive. That’s what I always say to my mom now and she says, Yeah I know. My parents raised me on rap and r&b from that time. (I am named after Lauryn Hill.) I didn’t really like any of their “jams” at first, but starting in the 7th grade I became more inspired by the music. Maybe it was because my gym teacher Mr. Dunbar would always play “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie while we were running laps in the gym or because my English teacher Ms. Treva would play A Tribe Called Quest and The Fugees in class. These days I’m into both the music and the style from the 80s and 90s.
Last month, I was shopping in the men’s section at Urban Outfitters (lol) when I saw a retro 90s color blocked windbreaker. When I asked my mom if I could buy it, but she said no (she does that a lot). Too expensive. I was bummed, but a week later I had a bright idea…”Why not just make it?”
Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down… This windbreaker is a vintage pattern by Kwik Sew, but the colors are inspired by Ashley from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Back in the fifth grade, I came across this show and I loved singing along to the theme song. One of my favorite episodes is when Will gets Boys II Men to sing to Ashley on her birthday .
Making the windbreaker: This was made with Kwik Sew pattern 2181. (Shoutout to Etsy for selling vintage 90s patterns or else I don’t know how I would’ve made this.) The hardest part of making this windbreaker was actually finding ripstop nylon fabric in decent colors. We went to 4 different stores in Berkeley, Oakland and Albany. At Discount Fabrics I picked up teal and black nylon along with other notions. Afterwards, I stopped by my usual grandma fabric store, Stone Mountain & Daughter. They only had bright florescent nylon (ugh), but I found black ribbing for the sleeve cuffs and waist band. We went to Piedmont Fabrics (they had none), but they suggested Narain’s Outdoor Repair, which is where we found the contrasting magenta nylon. You can’t tell from these photos but all 3 nylon fabrics have very different textures!
In all, we probably spent more on fabric and gas than the cost of that Urban Outfitter’s windbreaker – but this one looks way better and I’m so happy I made it. I wore it to school the day after I made it and got plenty of compliments!
Just for fun, I made a short ’91-92 playlist.
P.S. The images above were shot at a parking lot in Oakland.