the magazine | Zoot Suit, the counter-culture which embraces elegance

We wanted to talk to you about the Zoot Suits… why? Well, because they’re really cool. Secondly, because they perfectly represent the elegance we love: casual and without standards.

The Zoot Suit are the guys and ladies who, in order to fight racism in the United States in the 30s and 40s, decided to take back the codes of their oppressors, in order to divert them. This is primarily reflected in the use of clothing. They parody the suits of the “whites”. The idea? Overstating everything in the suit to get attention.

Let’s see a little more…

zoot suit esther bancel
  1. The style

The Zoot Suit consisted of an extremely wide and long jacket with huge lapels. The trousers, they were very loose and went up above the waist. They narrowed down to a very tight ankle. The whole thing was held in place by straps. Okay, it’s approved!


  1. Style despite the war and its prohibitions

During the Second World War, the Zoot Suit style was illegal because of the amount of fabric needed to make it (the costumes were so large, it required a monstrous amount of material to make them). However, at that time, restrictions were established by the government to rationalize the fabric and avoid shortages. But the Zoot Suit made fun of it blatantly and continued to make their clothes, with their own means, even if it meant being considered as unpatriotic people, which in a way further marginalized them from society and turned them into a real underground culture.

zoot suit esther bancel neo-tailoring

Period30/40 years

Who:mainly the working class of Afro-Hispanic origin.

Highlight: Zoot Suit Riot in Los Angeles 1943.  A series of race riots that pitted white American soldiers returning from World War II against pachucos, Mexican youth gangs and young black Americans who represented the rebel movement of the Zoot-Suit counter-culture.

Famous Zoot Suiter : Malcom X

zoot suit esther bancel
zoot suit esther bancel
zoot suit esther bancel

With the Thank’s Dad shirt, created by esther bancel and available on the e-shop, we were inspired by this counterculture. The shirt incorporates all the codes of elegance, deliberately exaggerated, as did the Zoot Suits. This gives an oversized shirt, not Zoot Suit, but straight from neo-tailoring, esther bancel style.

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