In his music video for “Work,” artist Barrington Levy wears a mesh marina under his vest. On the infamous Black Roses Crew corner, Levy dances vigorously to the beat with others dressed in work wear and and sings, “Everybody must work, work hard.” Despite the garment’s popularity, if you look back on ‘90s dancehall videos, you won’t see a lot of mesh on the artists. Far more common are oversized suits worn over bare chests, Coogi sweaters paired with shorts, and lots and lots of gold. Aside from the occasional front-and-center appearance like Terry Ganzie’s casual ensemble in a mesh marina for the cover of his 1992 LP Team Up, the mesh marina remained a style for the streets.
“There was a moment in the later ‘90s where having the mesh marina got taken to a whole different level. You had them in the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties but between ‘89 and ‘95 it blew the fuck up,” says Walshy Fire of Major Lazer. He recalls a little-documented but memorable trend of sleeved, mesh shirts—such as the one recently worn by Popcaan in an interview with Boomshots.com—also popping up. “There was a particular company and brand [Pendeen] and, just like Patrick Ewings, it came out in the weirdest colors. One sleeve would be purple, one would be orange and one would be green, and that was the hottest thing you can get.”