Taking In Uniformity at The Museum at FIT

Uniforms and fashion are often seen as complete opposites. Uniforms are about conformity while fashion deals with individuality and self-expression.  It may therefore seem surprising that over the years many high profile designers have put out pieces inspired by uniforms. This dichotomy is currently being explored in the Uniformity exhibit at the Museum at FIT  in New York City.

The exhibition displays military, work, school and sports uniforms  alongside the high fashion looks which they inspired. The Uniformity display is on until November 19, 2016.

I paid a visit to the museum during on my recent trip to NYC and below are some of the military-inspired designs.

Ralph Lauren, Uniformity, Museum at FIT
Ralph Lauren put a twist on the King’s Royal Rifle Corps jacket for his Fall 2013 collection. Military braiding began appearing in women’s clothing in the 19th century.
Sailor dresses, Uniformity, Museum at FIT
At left, Haas Brothers sailor dress from around 1895. At right, Norman Norell design from around 1957 exaggerated the necktie, turning it into a big bow. The trend of sailor-inspired civilian clothing started in the late 1840s with a 4-year-old Prince Albert Edwards wearing a mini version of the Royal Navy sailor suit.
Uniformity, Museum at FIT, breton stripes
We all know the Breton stripe but do we know where it came from? It was added to the French Navy’s official uniform in 1858 and it was intended to make it easier to see men who had fallen overboard. At left, Jean Paul Gaultier from around 1993 and at right, a more feminine interpretation from Sacai for Spring 2015.
Uniformity, Museum at FIT, Marc Jacobs
At left, Comme des Garcons, interpreted the US army uniform while Marc Jacobs paired the jacket with a long flowy skirt.

Post Author: Natasha Beckles

Natasha Beckles is a freelance copyeditor, writer and content creator. She has over a decade's experience in both traditional and online media. In addition to blogging about fashion and travel, she uses the written word to help brands and individuals tell their unique stories.

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