KROSS-DRESSING There's nothing backward about the style's success

May 07, 1992|By Jeffrey Weiss | Jeffrey Weiss,Dallas Morning News

Parents can list their fears for their children: Drugs, violence, sex. And now, Kross-dressing.

No, not gender-bending CROSS-dressing. KROSS-dressing.

As in shirts buttoned up the back and pants zipped up the behind. And, of course, the bill of the cap facing whoever is behind you.

The inspiration for the fresh fashion fadlet is the new Atlanta-based rap duo Kris Kross, their album "Totally Krossed Out" and the video for their No. 1 hit on Billboard, "Jump."

Kris Kross members Kris Smith and Kris Kelly, both 13, wear their clothes back-to-front in the photo gracing the album and during part of their video.

But there is nothing backward about their success: The single "Jump" went gold in five days, and more than 800,000 copies of the album have been sold, said Chrissy Murray, publicist for Ruffhouse-Columbia Records.

TV appearances include "In Living Color," "Arsenio Hall" and a Fox network fashion show.

The boys call the style "Krossed out," Ms. Murray said.

Even as Nobel prize winners build their work on earlier research, so too did the Kris Kross concept evolve from earlier styles. So-called mental dressing -- wearing clothing inside out and with labels and tags in full view -- is the hallmark of the rap group Another Bad Creation. Kross-dressing represents the next step, bTC some fans said.

"Style. Fad," explained Sir Edward Miller, an 11th grader at Lincoln High School in South Dallas,Texas. "Just like bell bottoms."

"Young people are just trying to get noticed," said classmate Jasmond Anderson.

As the Kris Kross album climbs the charts, so does elder annoyance with the Krossed-out wannabes. Kross-dressing is just another distraction teachers have to deal with, said Derrick Hopkins, a mathematics teacher at Lincoln.

He does not tolerate the style in his classroom, although he has no problem with it outside of school.

"Here, it's because we're training them to go into the real world," he said. "I try to make them look at this as a work place."

Glenda Lassiter, principal at Franklin Middle School in North Dallas, said she has seen only one student wearing his jeans' backside front-side. She didn't realize he was on the leading edge of a fad, she said.

"I advised him I felt he was distractive," she said. "I thought he was just doing it to be silly. He's a cutup."

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