by Tom Stratton

Biggie & Coogi

Christopher Wallace, Biggie, was one of the finest rappers to have ...
Biggie & Coogi
Christopher Wallace, Biggie, was one of the finest rappers to have ever done it and at one of the most stylish to boot. Stories of him stocking up on new Timbalands every single weekend, draped in Gucci, are not hard to find. Pictures of him in a variety of beautiful, albeit massive, suits are everywhere but one item he will forever be associated with is the Coogi jumper. 
Although it was founded in 1969 Coogi’s popularity came around in the 80s and 90s, somewhere along the way Brooklyn’s own Notorious B.I.G. became aware of the Australian brand and became instantly hooked. Rumour has it his local friend Walt G used to rock one, BIG saw it, and the rest was history. Another suggestion is that he liked the jumpers Bill Cosby used to wear on The Cosby Show but we’ll ignore that one because a) they were just colourful, they weren’t Coogi jumpers, and b) I’m not about to give Bill Cosby praise for anything  
“If you weren’t just a rich motherfucker from Australia playing golf, nobody knew about Coogi”.
These are the words from stylist Groovey Lew about when he first saw Biggie get into the Coogi jumper he would forever be associated with. High-end brands and hip hop go hand in hand, particularly with Biggie, but without the untrained eye you could easily mistake those Coogis for an old grandma knit picked up at a charity shop. Turns out they couldn’t be further from that, Biggie definitely had an eye for style. 
Like he did with Cristal and Versace, Biggie had the star power and style to turn a high-end brand into something for the streets, something to aim for, a status symbol for others who’d come from the same streets he had. Coogi was a fairly unknown pricey brand from Australia, it had no place in rap videos, but that’s exactly where Biggie was able to take it. A soon as you heard a brand mentioned in a rap by BIG, you knew you had to have it, and you heard him mention Coogi several times, most notable in the hit Big Poppa.

“However, living better now, Coogi sweater now”

After Biggie’s death, Coogi found a decline in popularity and, in the early 2000s as new brands and artists emerged, and the company had to sell up. Thankfully, as is fashion’s way, the trend came back around and Coogi found a new home collaborating with hip-hop fashion legend Willie Esco in 2014 where the jumpers sold out instantly. Now, Coogi has solidified its place in hip hop and fashion’s history and present; superstar Drake has been pictured wearing Coogis on numerous occasions. Rapper Jadakiss channeled BIG himself when he featured in the iconic jumper in his video for “Letter to B.I.G” for the Notorious soundtrack, even featuring in an advert for the brand. 
Ever the promoter, for himself and others alike, Biggie really lit up the Coogi brand like he did so many other rappers and brands, it looks like finally they’ve found their way back. Lets hope they don’t burn out too soon. 
Long live Biggie, long live the Coogi.