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In today’s fast evolving world you may be concerned to make sure your uniform is as fashionable as it is possible for uniform to be.  But have you ever turned that thought on its head and looked at how uniform has influenced fashion?

Perhaps the most strongly referenced uniform item in fashion is the sailor shirt, with its middy collar and blue and white stripes.  This was originally adopted by the French Navy in 1858 in order to spot sailors when fallen overboard.  In the ‘90s blue and white stripes took their place in every wardrobe when Jean Paul Gaultier built the distinctive stripes into his designs.  They still remain relevant today; a great favourite with ‘preppies’ along with the blazer.  Originally ‘blazer red’ jackets were worn in the mid-19th century by Cambridge students in the rowing team; when they became mainstream fashion the word ‘blazer’ became a noun.

Designers have taken inspiration from school uniforms (think pleated skirts, striped blazers) and work uniforms – Chanel’s 2015 collection was based on the uniform of Parisian waiters, even including a clutch bag in the shape of plates.  Military uniforms have also continually had a strong influence on fashion, with designers such as Ralph Lauren applying braid, gold buttons and epaulettes to female fashion, creating a juxtaposition of power and masculinity and femininity.

Uniform designers today have a unique opportunity to draw from years of historical references as well as bring in new technology and innovation.  Ensure your uniform is designed with care; who knows what fashion today’s uniform will inspire in the future?