EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been updated to include the main feature ‘NFL Films Presents: Zubaz’, in addition to the behind the scenes segment that can be viewed by clicking the photo of Ed Sabol’s Hall of Fame bust at the bottom of the page.
Necessity is the mother of invention. In the 1980s, it led to the mother of all sweatpants. To see their story, click the Zubazed mannequin legs below.
By Paul Camarata, Producer
Rollerblades were born in Minnesota. So were Bob Dylan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and the authors of The Peanuts and The Great Gatsby.
When I asked Twin Cities natives Dan Stock and Bob Truax why their home state has inspired so much creativity, the co-inventors of Zubaz chuckled, deflecting the suggestion that they or their creation should be grouped alongside the other icons that have flowed from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. “For us, it was simply that there was a need,” Bob said, “and we found a way to fill that need.”
Smirk at Zubaz if you like, but the facts are as black and white as the stripes of a zebra: in the nearly 30 years since Bob and Dan first sold it in their Roseville, MN health club, their distinctive design has been worn the world over. Zubaz are now as immediately evocative of the era that produced them as zoot suits, tie-dye, and bell bottoms — so much a part of the American pop culture fabric that they’ve survived the rare evolution from fad, to punchline, to nostalgia piece. More than 10 million pairs of Zubaz have been sold worldwide, and in recent years, as a second generation has embraced the “Dare to Be Different” motto of the pants, they have enjoyed that sincerest form of flattery known as imitation.
Narrated by Joe Buck and featuring interviews with Andrew Luck, Howie Long, Darrell Green, Warren Moon, Moose Johnston, and the Bella Twins, NFL Films Presents: Zubaz goes behind the stripes to tell the story of the world’s most well known sweats and their intersection with NFL history. That short film can be viewed by clicking the photo at the top of this page.
To learn more about the production, business, and friendship that fueled the Gopher State’s greatest contribution to fashion since Prince’s raspberry beret, click the photo below of NFL Films founder Ed Sabol.
“NFL Films Presents Hosted by Joe Buck” is produced by Chris Barlow.
“Zubaz” is produced by Paul Camarata.
Watch Fox Sports 1 for new episodes of NFL FILMS PRESENTS each week of the NFL season.