Nostalgia is at its peak, and everything ’90s is back again, from the music to the fashion. As style purveyors from the era, Carl Jones and TJ Walker have been both surprised and thrilled by the decade’s resurgence, as it’s meant the return of their iconic label Cross Colours, which dressed the likes of Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, TLC, 2Pac, and countless others. “We were even surprised when we were asked to bring our brand back in the beginning,” Walker tells British Vogue over Zoom from a hotel room in New York City. “We really had to think about it because we thought, ‘Well, who’s going to want that?’ But our thoughts were validated pretty quickly as our designs were shown to be desired and wanted by the youth, as well as the people who wore them before.”
And today’s stars are certainly falling in love with the brand as much as the artists they looked up to did more than 20 years ago. From a flame-accented collaboration with Billie Eilish to Rihanna in an oversized denim jacket, Cross Colours is once again influencing the zeitgeist.
Meanwhile, museums’ efforts to document the contributions of fashion’s Black pioneers – not to mention retailers’ attempts to stock cult brands beloved on social media – have also helped to put Cross Colours back in the spotlight. In the autumn of 2019, the brand was the subject of a 5,000-square-foot retrospective at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and is now juxtaposing pieces from the exhibition with fresh designs in Nordstrom’s Manhattan flagship. “When Nordstrom offered the opportunity for us to have our Center Stage pop-up, we wanted to introduce the brand to a younger generation,” says Jones. “We wanted to show the modern-day references to bring them up to speed on what the brand stands for today versus what it meant when it was started.”
The brand’s wares are also available on Nordstrom’s website, along with Cross Colours’s own e-commerce portal, where their designs are emblazoned with the faces of legendary artists like Aaliyah, 2Pac, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Snoop Dogg, and more. “Hip hop had a big influence on what we did,” says Jones. “It was a driving force in the back of our minds, and we knew that somehow what we wanted to do could be a viable idea.”