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Brief Published: 29 Jul 2014

Workwear: The Future Envisioned

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Workwear exhibition at La Triennale di Milano

Hosted by Italian design institution La Triennale di Milano, the Workwear exhibition invited designers to conceptualise the uniforms and workwear of the future. The results range from the utilitarian to the fantastical.

Italian artist, architect and curator of the exhibition Alessandro Guerriero asked 40 high-profile designers, artists and architects to envision the future with timeless workwear that would never age. They explored a range of themes – from how societies and people will change, to how clothing might affect the way we work, and the effect of continued technological developments on fashion and clothing.

British fashion designer and eco-activist Vivienne Westwood was inspired by a sustainable return to nature for her installation, which included a Lumberjack-style checked shirt and practical denim jeans alongside an axe and a pile of animal skins. In a more extreme interpretation of the theme, Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake created a high-shine metallic bodysuit to protect the wearer when the Earth’s atmosphere becomes hostile.

British furniture designer Fay Toogood’s installation, Workers of the World Unite, is a display of 14 handpainted uniforms, each for a different job. The rough, denim overalls vary subtly in shape and colour, suggesting a dystopian, egalitarian society.

Elsewhere, Austrian architect Wolf D. Prix of Vienna-based architecture and design co-operative Coop Himmelb(l)au designed a ribbed garment of metallic fabric that aims to block electromagnetic waves. Responding to increasing concerns about privacy in the internet age, the uniform would be able to block institutions like Google or Facebook from tracking the wearer’s online movements. For more on privacy, see Deactivate, Super Security and SXSWi 2014: Privacy.

Workwear continues until August 31 2014.

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