PROJECT Nº 2
Unisex uniforms and market- ing partnership with the iconic American fast-food chain White Castle.
Much has been made of the so-called ‘down-market’ trend in fashion part- nerships that spread throughout the industry after our highly publicized col- laboration with White Castle. But our story could not be more different than the ironic and condescending ‘high-low‘ projects which came after us.
The reality is that most fashion shows are sponsored by luxury and beauty products — high end cars, swarovski crystals, exclusive credit cards and hair and beauty behemoths. As a direct result of our democratic and diverse approach to fashion these sponsors had no interest in supporting our project.
It was in this context that we approached White Castle ahead of our SS16 show — with the express purpose of sending a message to the industry. We began with a fashion week after-party at their Times Square restaurant which went viral on social media and became a legend of New York night life — before announcing that we would be designing their uniforms nationwide.
The combination of a genderless avant garde line and America’s oldest fast food chain was so surreal it attracted national broadcast news coverage and thousands of requests from fashion-fans seeking to wear the uniform of what usually would not be considered an aspirational occupation. The erasure of high and low — the blending of style and democracy was a per- fect illustration of our design philosophy — and the task of producing tens of thousands of garments on a yearly basis was both an economic and symbolic win in making the case for genderless garments.
We commemorated the occasion by collaborating with the artist and pho- tographer Jayson Keeling, who spent a month with White Castle employees, following them to their homes and throughout their daily lives to capture a series of powerful portraits.