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Stories

The 100 Pound Jeans

Big Tex's wardrobe was the inspiration for “Lotta” dress

The Texas State Fair is a perennial marvel. Every October this massive celebration of rides, livestock and delicious artery clogging treats opens in the epic art deco fairgrounds in east Dallas. Its gigantic mascot Big Tex stands 55 feet tall wearing jeans that weigh 100 pounds with a 434 inch waist and 3.5 inch rivets. Tex has greeted all that enter thru the front gates since 1952. The brutal Texas sun requires his clothes being refreshed every few years and t was always a treat to see his new cowboy shirt with its 14 foot collar.

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I grew up seeing Big Tex almost annually and when I started designing clothes in the 1980s he stayed on my mind. For my Summer 1983 collection I made a shirt that was not quite as big as Texs shirt but it was close. I copied all of the details except the cowboy shirt detailing on the yoke.

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The following season, inspired by the success of Texs shirt I came up with a dress version that ended up looking very much like the dresses that the comic book heroine Little Lotta wore. Extremely wide with a yoke that went elbow to elbow the giant dress proved to be oddly flattering and turned into a big hit.

After we unpacked our fashion archive last year I was very happy to see we had saved the original “Big Tex” and “Little Lotta” dress patterns which allowed us to remake our new “Lotta” dress using a vintage bandanna printed cotton that Wamcraft made for us in the mid 1990s. Wamcraft was a fabric manufacturing specializing in southwestern and cowboy inspired bandanna designs, we ask them to make the classic bandana print as running yardage, before the bandannas are cut and they obliged.

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The first reissue of our original “Lotta” pattern is very limited edition due to the extreme fabric consumption of the dress and the single roll of bandana fabric we had left but no worries, we are making more in new fabrics coming soon!

A few years ago Big Tex burst into flames requiring not only a new outfit but a re-welding of his form.

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