When White Castle asked its employees what they wanted in their uniforms, many asked for a durag. So the fast-food brand commissioned the award-winning Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens to create one. It’s the first time a fast-food chain has issued this hair accessory as part of its uniform.
This week, White Castle and Telfar unveiled the updated look as part of the burger joint’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Photographer Elliott Jerome Brown Jr. captured employees wearing the outfits in an intimate portrait series that offers a glimpse into the their lives during the pandemic. Like much of Telfar’s work, the collection pushes the boundaries of inclusivity in fashion, making the case that fast-food workers—whose labor is wildly undervalued in the American market—deserve great design.
Clemens first launched his label in 2005, making a name for himself with his androgynous garments and democratic approach to design, encapsulated by his tagline: “It’s not for you, it’s for everyone.” In 2017, Clemens won the top prize of $400,000 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Vogue Fashion Fund, cementing his status as one of the country’s most significant designers.
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