Is Signature Workwear?
We sometimes find the need to discuss what workwear is in relation to what Signature is and what Signature isn’t. With there being crossover and broad terms in menswear, it’s a good conversation to have in keeping ourselves from being influenced into something we’re not. The two most significant influences in menswear over the past (give or take some time) 15 years have been athleisure and workwear. Signature is definitely not athleisure, matter of fact, we’re kind of vocal about not being that. We make fun of it, all in love, though.
In our terms, workwear is clothing built from materials conceived from the need for durable clothing during work time activities. Duck canvas, denim, leather boots, that sort of thing. Do any of us wearing workwear do those activities? Most of us, no. We do wear workwear to do work, just not that kind of work. But honestly, it’s all good because workwear textiles have a new purpose: to make clothes more sustainable by lasting longer.
Workwear sometimes breaks down barriers, such as wearing denim to work. Sometimes it feels as if workwear and athleisure compete to dominate fashion culture in creative and tech workspaces, which is smart. Hell, it’s what we do. We do it, though, because neither of the two big players jives perfectly in that space, and the clients feel this.
We like workwear. We use many of its fabrics and textiles, but we want the freedom to dictate our original lane while being a workwear crossover. Spoiled. We know.
Workwear and athleisure have become broad terms. Workwear seems to have swallowed up and incorporated hipster forestry service wear: Patagonia, Northface, the sort of clothing that comes with strong opinions of the IPA menu. Of course, we make flannels, but we also try to rid ourselves of the pretentiousness of pretending we’re off to scale Everest when really, we wanted something cool to wear while we’re out meeting with clients. In this regard, Signature goes a route similar to that of great American writer Tom Wolfe. Whom was known to diffuse pretentiousness by being overly pretentious in his all-white suit designed in such a way to signal he was there to observe the absurdity. That is to say; we break down barriers.
Workwear gets referred to interchangeably with the term “heritage wear.” We don’t like that term. It seems coded, stubborn, and anchored to “the way things were.” So while people sometimes identify Signature as “American Classic,” we’re definitely not heritage wear because our version of American Classic is more inclusive of genres, people, cultures, and ideas. To us, west coast 90s hip-hop needs to be adopted into American Classic. But that’s not always what happens, so we embrace it into our idea of “Original Menswear.”
So is this a passive-aggressive way of telling us all how one-of-a-kind and Original Signature is? And you know this! Yes, but not because we’re hard-headed contrarians from Fontana. It’s because there is room for nuance, degrees, and grey matter. There’s room for crossovers and whatnot. Our lane is Original. We’ve had unique exposure to many cultures, and we like to take the best of these experiences and turn them into designs.