While a fast food uniform may be something viewed as strictly utilitarian for those that wear it — and a sign of a shared corporate identity for those ordering — McDonald’s latest uniform redesign continues the chains stated desire to put “food” in between common sartorial modifiers “fast” and “fashion.”
Designed by Waraire Boswell and Bindu Rivas — the former who has designed and dressed the likes of LeBron James, Pharrell Williams, Will Smith and Kobe Bryant — the American designer was very familiar with both the needs and desires of their employees after having worked at the fast food chain before turning to fashion.
“As a former McDonald’s crew member myself, I understand the design and functionality needs of the next generation of McDonald’s uniforms, and I was personally inspired to design a look and feel that gives restaurant employees a greater level of confidence,” Boswell said.
While it may seem merely like a ploy to continue to reinvent McDonald’s image from that of a burger purveyor to a location more suitable for hours of study and impromptu business meetings — like Starbucks — the chain is certainly no stranger to making waves in the fashion industry.
Equally so, fashion brands have often looked to the world of food for design inspiration resulting in notable examples like the GETTRY x Asics Procourt AR “Hamburger,” Tapatio x The Hundreds, Cobra Snake x colette x Vans Era and Nike “New Castle” Dunk Low SB.
If you needed any other proof to the blurring of lines, look no further than Papa John’s latest tweet:
Although there are numerous other examples, we’ve decided to focus on tangible food entities rather than simply every food reference ever made by a brand.
Here are the most notable examples of when food and fashion converge.
Coca-Cola x adidas
While the adidas Climacool 1 has since been retroed in 2016, the original iteration dates back to 2002 when Coca-Cola and adidas were both title sponsors of the World Cup in Korea/Japan.
Featuring red mesh and gold accents that represent the cola bottle — as well as co-branding on both heels and special soccer ball graphic footbeds — it marked one of Coca-Cola’s earliest forays into fashion.
It also illustrated one of the earliest lines of thinking relating to how brands reinterpret food and beverage on products; using color to marry sensibilities as opposed to making products that could feel like purchases for a corporate gift shop.
Starbucks x CFDA
CFDA designers Alexander Wang, Billy Reid and Sophie Theallet each designed a special T-shirt for Starbucks that was directly inspired by the caffeine juggernaut. In turn, Fashionista called it “one of the most unlikely collaborations we’ve ever heard of.”
Alexander Wang said of his design, “The first thing we thought of was what everyone tries to avoid—spilled coffee on a T-shirt” — resulting in a tongue-and-cheek homage to the pitfalls of wearing white and drinking any dark-colored beverage.
Sophie Theallet’s design “was inspired by the global community and all the connections involved around a cup of Starbucks coffee,” while Billy Reid looked to the companies archives, saying, “We were inspired by the iconic images and American success story of Starbucks over the past 40 years. We wanted a certain broken-in quality that looks great worn inside out, is a bit antiqued in spirit, and ready for wear immediately.”
Stussy x Plan Check
Stussy’s first comestible collaboration in their storied history came with Los Angeles burger joint, Plan Check, which has gone on to expand beyond its Sawtelle location to include a notable spot on “Streetwear Row” on Fairfax Avenue.
While the delectable SS PCB (Smoky Spicy Plan Check Burger) would have certainly been enough — thanks to elements like a Wagyu beef patty, bacon, habanero cheese and ketchup leather — the event was also highlighted by a super-limited T-shirt.
One year later, Stussy continued their affinity for cuisine by presenting a Amsterdam Tribe T-Shirt and subsequent cookbook celebrating the usage of cannabis in cooking.
Additionally, they also partnered with Japanese hot sauce makers, Mellow Habanero, on a gourmet hot sauce in 2016.
Coca-Cola x A Bathing Ape
Coca-Cola and A Bathing Ape cemented their lineage of working together with a project in 2016 that featured homages to the soft drink brand in both colorways and imagery.
This partnership dates back to 2014 when they linked up for items featuring a camo pattern that was fused with Coca-Cola’s trademark red — highlighted by additional accessories like G-Shock watch, cap, yo-yo and drinking glass.
A Bathing Ape certainly isn’t the only known streetwear entity to favorite their imagery and styling.
“Fashion has always been a part of the brand DNA of Coca-Cola, even from the earliest advertisements,” said Kate Dwyer, group director of worldwide licensing for The Coca-Cola Company.
McDonald’s x Moschino
As Vogue so aptly put it, “Jeremy Scott is fashion’s most evolved connoisseur of junk culture.” Thus, it would only make sense that his sensibilities would result in him producing clothing that provided reactions ranging from satisfaction to utter disgust.
A year after replacing Rossela Jardin as the Creative Director at Moschino, Scott reimanged McDonald’s’ golden arches as the label’s iconic heart design and presented a range of items like a cashmere/wool blend sweater in the chain’s yellow and red — with slogans like “Moschino: Over 12 Million Served” — which Style.com’s Tim Blanks referred to as “a mutant hybrid of Ronald McDonald and Coco Chanel.”
Scott said of his collection, “McDonald’s is part of our everyday lives. When I design I always pull from things that are significant to me. In my work I search for happiness and then try to convey that joy in the clothes.”
While other collaborations were sanctioned by both parties, Scott’s interpretation was viewed more as a parody than an homage; which is a major reason why Moschino didn’t face any litigation.
McDonald’s x colette
Over their 20-year retail tenure, colette has been no stranger to partnerships — even helping us celebrate our 14th print issue with peel away stickers by a range of contemporary artists and illustrators including André, Darcel, James Jarvis, Kevin Lyons and many others.
This particular union saw some of McDonald’s’ most popular menu items presented as pictograms on T-shirts, tote bags and smartphone cases that had conceived by French advertising agency, TBWA Paris.
Shake Shack x Highsnobiety
Gifted to those who attended our #ArtBaselMiami photowalk in 2015 which started at Shake Shack’s Miami Beach location, the collaborative T-shirt — with neon glow — was a pairing of both entities’ logos.
The Meatball Shop x Vans
After six years of providing New York City with tasty, carnivorous orbs, The Meatball Shop made its transition to fashion with a collaboration with Vans.
The design featured the Vans checkerboard print, Meatball Shop branding on the heel and sketches of animated meatballs on the quarter panels, and was designed by The Meatball Shop’s owner, Daniel Holzman, and Vans VP Steve Van Doren.
Jon & Vinny’s x Vans
Co-founders of Los Angeles culinary destinations, Animal, Son of a Gun and Jon & Vinny’s, Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo took their love of footwear to new heights with a collaboration with Vans on a series of Authentic, Slip-On, Old Skool and Sk8-Hi silhouettes.
The trip-colored pack specifically came retrofitted to fit the needs for those in the kitchen thanks to specially coated water- and dirt-resistant canvas uppers and enhanced footbeds — so each shoe was well-equipped for the rigors of kitchen work — and also an upgraded cushioning provided arch support during long periods of standing.
- Featured/Main Image: Rex Features