Is Workwear ‘Camp’? Kanye West wears Dickies Jacket to Met Gala

08.05.2019

The 2019 Met Gala set social media alight yesterday for a number of reasons. This year’s theme, Camp: Notes on Fashion, was pushed to its limits by celebrities Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, Celine Dion and Lady Gaga, wearing gowns by Jeremy Scott for Moschino, Gucci, Dolce & Gabanna and many more. But, while we’ve gasped at these creations, it was another celebrity wearing a global workwear brand that really caught our attention.

Kanye West garnered as many gasps, turning up to the Gala wearing a simple Dickies workwear jacket. The jacket is a staple in any workwear wardrobe, and retails at a mere $40 in the USA. But what is the significance of the garment?

Sam Schube, writing for GQ.com, notes that Kayne may have hit the ‘camp’ theme better than any other guest. Referring to Susan Sontag’s seminal essay about the concept, around which the Met’s exhibition is based, Schube highlights Sontag’s definition:

‘Camp is the attempt to do something extraordinary. But extraordinary in the sense, often, of being special, glamorous…Not extraordinary merely in the sense of effort.’

In amongst a sea of sequins, feathers and rainbow colours, Kanye’s simple choice make a bolder statement.

Many of our collections for clients employ workwear brands like Dickies and Carhartt; key off-the-peg workwear items that complement bespoke pieces that we create. In this sense, in a work environment, workwear is ordinary; interesting, yes; stylish, of course; but at the Met Gala, workwear is extraordinary. Kayne’s choice is much more considered than most would give him credit for.

The jacket in question is the Dickies Eisenhower Jacket, a signature design from the global workwear purveyors. It comes in a variety of colours and includes features such as a pencil pocket, slash front pockets, and adjustable, buttoned tabs at the waistband. The jacket has been a staple of workwear fans for some time.

While the Eisenhower is busy selling out, Kayne has triggered a thousand discussions on the concept of camp, and with it, the importance of context in fashion in general.