Menswear, particularly men’s street wear, is something I find very interesting. I like looking at men and seeing the way they dress and what looks good on them. Construction workers in particular are a whole interesting group that deserve more attention than they get. They are gritty and dirty and real. Their clothes are a reflection of their work in the practicality of it. They seem to have their own definition of who they are. I don’t mean to talk about construction workers as a different species of human, it is a profession, and maybe to them it doesn’t define who they are. But in the same way you look at a group of business men and place a blanket statement over them, I look at construction workers and have something to say that I feel can apply to all of them.
Construction is everywhere in New York. The scaffolding in front of my school just came down a few months ago after being there for more than six years. Streets are being constantly torn up, facades of buildings being transformed, new ones being built. As much as the skyline seems to be constantly developing, one thing that never changes are the men who work on these projects. I’m talking about construction workers. We all know that famous photograph of a group of young men hanging from the metal interior of a building hundreds of feet above the ground. The men in that picture fall somewhere between impossibly cool and utterly foolish.
Although the general uniform has changed over the years, the general feeling that construction workers carry throughout their respective eras has not. I see them every day on the subway, everyday on my way to school. They are rugged, like an urban lumberjack. During the winter you see them trapped in layers of sweatshirts and long underwear, and during the summer they strip down to t-shirts, showing their bare arms. Their hands are calloused and broken. Some carry strong and slim torsos, others hold a belly of beer. In a world and in a time when gender and sexuality and identity are all so subjective, I believe that when you look at a construction worker you are looking at a man. Back to the olden days of Cowboys and Indians and Clint Eastwood. I don’t mean to put a whole group of people in a box, I’m not saying that this the rule, or even the truth, this is just my truth.
Construction workers carry a sense of pride with them, you can see it in the way they hold themselves. They are confident. They know exactly what they are capable of, and have a sense of proficiency. Even if their job is cutting 2 by 4s or nailing two pieces of wood together, they know what they are doing. They look put together because they’re style comes out of necessity. They don’t necessarily care how they look, but they have to wear certain things just for the mechanics of their job. Tighter fitting clothes so as not to get in the way, but loose enough that they can work in them.
In fashion you can find inspiration literally everywhere. I find it in the diverse culture of the people around me. Maybe you can find it in the architecture of buildings or the delicate shape of flower petals. Whatever it is make it yours. Keep it close to you and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.