Earlier this year, we presented Blauer’s Nyolite range, a collection of deconstructed/reconstructed outerwear pieces inspired by brand President Enzo Fusco’s own experiences repurposing military and workwear pieces. This week, we take a closer look at the history of the American workwear brand itself, and how its utilitarian roots creating uniform for special forces such as the police, US military, and special agents of the White House, continues to inform its output (and the clothes you wear) today.
Founded in 1936 by Louis Blauer as Blauer Mfg. Co., the company started out as a sewing contractor for department stores in the Boston area, before Blauer’s two sons Maurice and Aaron developed the business to create raincoats and uniform for the military and Massachusetts State Police in the 1950s. At the center of the brand’s success was the development of a lightweight nylon textile, coated with rubber and constructed into a raincoat with enlarged pockets for the storage of firearms.
This focus on functional materials and practical applications endured over the years, and throughout the twentieth century Blauer would go on to create uniforms and accessories for all manner of service jobs, even creating fluorescent nylon wetsuits to aid with the identification of lifeguards on the beach. Their status as a leading figure in workwear and service apparel production saw them introduce a number of developments that would eventually become industry standards, from 360-coverage kevlar bulletproof vests, to the now-ubiquitous fluorescent yellow that is used in a number of hazardous settings.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and Blauer continues to be an industry leading workwear supplier for America’s service roles. The signing of a partnership deal with Italian fashion house FGF Industry in the year 2001 saw the brand’s utilitarian pedigree meeting a pure fashion perspective for the very first time and, in 2017, fashion designer and long time collaborator Enzo Fusco acquired 50% of the brand. The newly formed company BWF Srl—Blauer Fashion World—headed by Enzo Fusco, Silvana Fusco, daughter Federica, son-in-law Giuseppe D’Amore and the Blauer family puts the seal on Enzo Fusco’s tireless commitment to moulding the style of Blauer USA over the last few years. Since then, the Italian wing of Blauer has used the company’s impressive list of patents and textile innovations to put a new spin on classic workwear and military design.
Beyond workwear, Blauer has now expanded its product offer to include sportswear, lifestyle and casual clothing, as well as adapting familiar silhouettes into more contemporary cuts. As their Nyolite capsule collection earlier this year demonstrated, their insulated down jackets continue to be some of the brand’s most popular releases, while their appropriately-named “Police Jackets” continue the legacy of the brand’s foundation in the 21st century.
Ultimately, the Blauer story is not dissimilar to many of the workwear brands that have found their place in the fashion world, and one that speaks a simple truth; the timeless appeal of straightforward, practical clothing that’s built to last.