Workwear has a enduring history and influence in clothing design and style. From its industrial roots–the sturdy work clothing made for manual labor in the early-20th century–and its standardization by brands like Carhartt and Dickies in America, to being embraced by subcultures like punk, greaser and hip-hop as both a signifier and disrupter of working-class heritage. Then, its adoption into fashion by designers—like Post Overalls and Helmut Lang in the 1990s and Junya Watanabe in the early 2000s—transfigured workwear into a symbol of durability and utility, injecting fashion ‘workwear’ garments with a sense of purpose and function beyond looking stylish. These labels and others shaped how workwear was interpreted, elevating its status and detaching it from its function as clothing for manual labor. Workwear continues to evolve in the workplace and in fashion, with new designers like Kiko Kostadinov, Craig Green and Heron Preston responding to contemporary workwear and shifting notions of work, reformulating how we see contemporary workwear and its relationship to fashion.

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