Early breakdancers occasionally used heavy nylon to construct jumpsuits or trousers that would be able to endure contact with the breakdancing surface while at the same time decreasing friction, allowing speedy and intricate “downrock” routines without fear of friction burns or wear in clothing. Some, possibly apocryphal, sources[who?] state that genuine parachute nylon was cut and used to make such trousers possible. In the early part of the 1980s, parachute pants were tight fitting. Due to the use of nylon in parachutes, the style of pants became known as parachute pants. Often, early outfits were of a single color or slightly patchwork in nature as they were sometimes made of found materials.
Alba was born in Pomona, California, to Catherine Louisa (née Jensen) and Mark David Alba. Her mother has Danish, Welsh, German, English, and French ancestry, while her paternal grandparents, who were born in California, were both the children of Mexican immigrants. She has a younger brother, Joshua. Her third cousin, once removed, is writer Gustavo Arellano. Her father’s Air Force career took the family to Biloxi, Mississippi, and Del Rio, Texas, before settling back in Claremont, California, when she was nine years old. Alba has described her family as being a “very conservative family – a traditional, Catholic, Latin American family” and herself as very liberal; she says she had identified herself as a “feminist” as early as age five.