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What’s a ‘Biggie’ jacket and why are New Yorkers being shot for them?

Posted at 7:31 PM, Nov 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-11 21:04:19-05

NEW YORK (PIX11) – Police now say a popular jacket sparked a weekend shooting at Bryant Park ice rink that injured a man and may leave a 14-year-old boy paralyzed.

Corey Dunton, 16, allegedly opened fire after the owner of a Marmot brand jacket known as a “Biggie” refused to give it up.  But this isn’t the first time shots have been fired over one of these coats or other popular items of clothing.

It’s a human instinct that dates back to biblical times — so strong it’s listed as one of the 10 Commandments: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, wife, or possessions.”

Sometimes people go to extreme measures to get their hands on what others have.

Police say in this case it was the Marmot brand coat that was made exclusively for Paragon Sports.

“The more something seems that it’s not accessible, then the more appealing or attractive it’s going to be whether it’s to a fashionista or two a thief,” said Elena Romero, City College of New York professor and author of “Free Stylin’: How Hip-Hop Changed the Fashion Industry.”

Paragon

Shoppers have left comments on the sports store Paragon’s website warning potential “Biggie” buyers.

Marmot has since discontinued the style, but Romero says discontinuing the jacket is a double-edged sword.  “The irony behind that is once they do that, the product becomes even more limited, and even more desirable.”

This isn’t the first shooting over one of the notorious “Biggie” jackets.  Police say there have been at least three other shootings over the coat.  And there are several videos on the internet of people being beaten for the jacket.

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Reviews on the Paragon website even warn potential owners, “This is not the coat for yu [sic] if yu [sic] live in NYC yu [sic] will get robbed.”  Marmot wouldn’t say why, but the company discontinued the line last year and now Paragon sports is reportedly dropping the remaining jackets as well.

But mayhem over outwear is hardly exclusive to the Marmot Jacket.

For years the demand for popular sneakers has caused conflict.

Thousands lined up outside malls last year to get their hands on a pair of Jordan sneakers and several violent incidents were reported following the release when there weren’t enough to go around.

And now the same thing appears to be happening with Apple products and other technology.

Romero says what makes the items so appealing is simply their price point.

“If it’s that expensive, the average person can’t afford it, therefore, I want it,” Romero said.

And in some cases they’ll go to extreme measures to get it.