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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Men who like to sag their jeans down low but fear they could end up around their ankles may be interested in new pants that snap to special boxer shorts for support and improved mobility.
Irese and Mark Davenport, two brothers from Newark, New Jersey, unveiled Sagz Jeans this week. They noticed their teenage children's movement was hampered by the look, which came to prominence in 1990s hip-hop music videos.
"They're holding their pants up not being able to play sports, basically being unhealthy because of the attire they were wearing," Mark Davenport said.
His brother invented the concept and patented it in 2006 to give sag jean wearers a active lifestyle.
With Sagz Jeans, the pants can be snapped to the waist-hugging underwear at three different heights allowing the wearer to show how low he can go without actually risking a wardrobe malfunction.
Both brothers are aware of the controversy surrounding the style, in which large swathes of the wearer's underwear are visible above their pants' low-slung waistline. Several U.S. municipalities have instituted fines or even jail time for those caught sagging.
Even President Barack Obama has weighed in, saying in 2008 that although he considers anti-sagging legislation a waste of time, he thinks "brothers should pull up their pants."
"You don't have to pass a law, but that doesn't mean folks can't have some sense and some respect for other people and, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear - I'm one of them," he said.
Dwayne Hoard, the creative director of Sagz, believes such reactions are simply the latest in an inevitable cycle of older people finding themselves unnerved by the tastes of the young.
He said young men who sag their pants are unfairly demonized as hooligans or thugs. The style is sometimes thought to have originated in prisons, where new inmates would be handed oversized pants but no belt for fear it could be used as a weapon or in a suicide attempt. Hoard prefers to date its origins to when Michael Jordan started wearing relatively baggy basketball shorts.
He said it's a form of youth expression doomed to be misunderstood by elders.
"Young folks, they will sag no matter what," he said. "What we are trying to do is offer a better alternative."
The line will sell online only for now. A pair of Sagz jeans costs about $80, including a pair of snapped-in boxers. The company aims to make between $500,000 and $1 million in sales in its first year.
Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston