Fashion Fridays: Jamaica’s Love Affair with the Mesh Marina

June 20, 2014

Busy Signal photo by Damien “LookYah” Baddy

Lately, artists have been playing with the style as a retro nod to the earlier days of reggae and dancehall. The knitted top reemerged at the top of last year in the highly stylized video for โ€œWatch Out For This (Bumaye)โ€ from dancehall deejay Busy Signal and international EDM crew Major Lazer, and was spotted in reggae artist Protojeโ€™s recent โ€œWho Knowsโ€ video featuring Chronixx. Aidonia wore one for his โ€œ80s Dancehall Styleโ€ music video, as do Konshens and Romain Virgo in their old school-themed clip โ€œWe No Worry Bout Them.โ€

Iba Mahr celebrates rudeboy style in his song โ€œDiamond Sox,โ€ a collaboration with producers Notis, describing a uniform of diamond socks, Wallabee Clarks, Arrow shirt and mesh marina, style elements further honired in the song’s Rockers-inspired video. This extends into the realm of Kingstonโ€™s expansive party culture as well, with themed events such like Februaryโ€™s โ€œMesh Marina & Diamond Socksโ€ party popping up around town.

While the garment is currently enjoying a renaissance in Jamaican popular culture, it canโ€™t exactly be labeled a trend. The mesh marina has long been a mainstay item in Jamaica because it provides an important function: to keep dry and cool. The โ€œstring vest,โ€ as the mesh marina is also known, was conceived from this simple necessity.

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