5 Uniforms You'll Probably See on The Runway Soon
First there was the t-shirt that launched a thousand memes—Vetements’ DHL logo tee, in the delivery company’s distinctive canary yellow and fire engine red, that sparked an Instagram frenzy when it came out on the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week late last year.
Now the movement is spreading. Other designers are getting in on the uniform appropriation game, and Heron Preston, friend to Kanye and former Nike collaborator, will debut UNIFORM at this coming New York Fashion Week as he “up-cycles” New York Department of Sanitation workwear with patches and silk-screen patterns.
I worked with Robin Brooks, Executive Director of Strategic Communications + Marketing at the DSNY to help me secure uniform donations from sanitation workers. She put out the call and before I knew it, oversized green garbage bags full of used uniforms started to arrive from workers all over NYC. This was a coaches jacket I found in one of the bags donated for the project by Deputy Chief Albano.
Where will the cause go next? Appropriating uniforms could be a financial game changer: there are only 25 tickets available to Preston’s show, and they’re selling for $2,030 each—although to be fair, a portion of that will go to the DSNY-supporting non-profit organization Foundation for New York’s Strongest. But then, the Vetements tee did sell for $330, while near-identical versions could still be bought on DHL’s own website for $6.50 (the minimum order is 100, but at least you’d have all birthday, Christmas, and Hanukkah presents sorted for the next five years). Either way, it seems that most fashion enthusiasts are well on their way to shopping exclusively in bulk from functional, corporate websites.
Whichever way it goes, it’s fair to say that not every uniform is going to find its way into the fashion sphere. But for a start, here are five we think should be next on the list:
1. The New York Mets uniforms
Stripes were declared a bona fide trend this season, and the Mets definitely have those down pat. If you tilt your head to the side, their tee is practically a breton. For a bit of extra color, take a cue from the Mets’ alternative uniform this year: in honor of the 30th anniversary of their 1986 World Series championship, they’ve been sporting the 1986 design on Sunday home games, complete with graphic orange and navy blue racing stripes along the sides. If you’re going to go the selling route, we predict it’ll be worth a lot of dollar bills in the future since it’s limited edition. Start collecting now.
2. Crossing guard vests
This one is excellent for those of you who like to stand out from the crowd with little-to-no effort. The key here lies in the accessories: wear what you like underneath (preferably clothes if you’re dealing with children), but make sure your hat and vest are both bright—and reflective—enough to sear someone’s retinas. A good rule of thumb when wearing this blinding color: if it’s not fluorescent, you shouldn’t be wearing it. How else will anyone be able to know you exist?
3. USPS uniforms
Hello, ’90s throwback. We love the faint hint of Dads-playing-golf these poplin button-up shirts and belted trousers exude. And don’t forget the black trainers and calf-length socks. It’s comfortable. It’s practical. It’s so… sensible. As long as society is going the comfort-is-king route with athleisure, we don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t go all the way. Who wouldn’t want to start the trend of being sensible? (Don’t answer that.)
4. NYPD uniforms
And no, this does not satiate some perverse sexual fantasy. Frankly, we’re just in it for the patches. Because if patches are good enough for Alessandro Michele at Gucci, they’re good enough for us.
5. Shake Shack uniforms
From a humble stand at Madison Square Park to a chain well on its way to global domination (we are not kidding—there is an outlet in Bahrain), Shake Shack’s story is the stuff New York dreams are made of. So it only makes sense that its color palette would be predominantly black. As for the hint of green offered by those stylized little hamburger motifs—well, who doesn’t want a minimalist representation of a delicious burger on them at all times?
Images via Bossip, NBC, Zagat, and SSENSE.
Stay tuned to Milk for more fashion uniforms that befuddle.