The New Blue Collar: How Denim Workwear Has Evolved

Denim workwear at the Dior fashion show

Denim workwear at Dior

As one of the most dynamic and democratic fabrics on the market, it’s no surprise that over its 140+ years of existence, denim has become the fabric of the people – and also the one that’s remixed and reimagined the most season-on-season.


Levi’s Strauss and Jacob Davis might not have known how big their blue footprint would have on the world when they patented their jean back in 1873, going from a workwear innovation for gold miners and labourers, to becoming a fashion favourite for celebs like Rihanna and Kendall Jenner alike. Denim’s rich heritage makes it a treasure trove for designers to plunder, pulling out archive details, vintage washes and functional elements that remain just as relevant today as they were back then.


While denim has its roots in the American frontier, the latest iterations that came down the fall runways are a far cry from the original predecessors. As it turns out, the new face of blue collar style is all grown-up and poised to get some serious mileage on the weekdays (subscribers click to read WGSN’s New Workwear report in full). You may have spotted traces of it at shows like Dior with their stunning vintage blue uniforms, Chloe’s lofty military shirts or twisted takes on the denim tuxedo at Sacai. These season-perfect styles shy away from the usual thrift-heavy looks and become more geared up towards a more polished identity.


This new elevated workwear direction sees 1940s deadstock looks reimagined through a modern lens, “Classics with a twist”, taking simple, timeless pieces, then making them feel new with cool fabrics, vintage-inspired fits, and thoughtful craftsmanship. Consider the possibilities: a polished, reproportioned take on the denim uniform at Lorod, LF Markey’s modernised coverall or take it to the extreme with Vetements new collaboration with utility staple Carhartt, with their subcultural spin on their archive classics.

What makes this new denim trend especially exciting is the fresh sensation it brings—the minimal offerings are meant to be mixed and matched, paired together as modern versions of those original nineteenth-century work uniforms—new Canadian tuxedos, if you will. Fit, function, and fashion are the name of the game, and this fall we have several heavy hitters that we plan to keep on equally heavy rotation.

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