You Should Be Reading: “A Curious Revolution Has Been Taking Place in the Dress of What Used To Be Called ‘The Workman'”: Walker Evans’s Unpublished Article on Men’s Fashion



This week, Worn Through would like to highlight “’A Curious Revolution Has Been Taking Place in the Dress of What Used To Be Called “The Workman”‘: Walker Evans’s Unpublished Article on Men’s Fashion” and encourage you to add it to your reading lists.

O’Neill, Alistair. “’A Curious Revolution Has Been Taking Place in the Dress of What Used To Be Called “The Workman”‘: Walker Evans’s Unpublished Article on Men’s Fashion.” Photography and Culture vol. 5, no.1 (2012): 9-19.

link to full article

About the author: Alistair O’Neill is Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins and runs the Fashion History & Theory pathway of BA Fashion. In 2004 he established the MA Fashion Curation course at the London College of Fashion and edited a Fashion Curation special issue of Fashion Theory (June 2008). He has contributed to a range of media including The Guardian, The Independent and BBC Radio 4, is the consultant for the forthcoming BBC2 series British Style Genius, and advises on intellectual property infringement in the area of fashion design. O’Neill is the author of ‘London: After a Fashion’ and the curator of Fashion Lives (SHOWstudio).

Abstract:
This article considers an unpublished photo story by Walker Evans, shot in 1963 and intended for publication in Fortune, Time Incorporated’s business magazine, where Evans was employed as special photographic editor from 1945-65. Titled “The Clothes: A Note on Sartorial Actuality,“ the assignment concerns the working dress of American men, and is shot on the streets of New York and the campus of Yale University, New Haven. Evans’s intention was to reveal how the postwar concept of men’s fashion was starting to infiltrate the representation of American men at work; attempting to capture a shift in the kinds of clothes worn by men for the purpose of work, noticeably influenced by the sphere of leisure. In correspondence with the editor of the magazine, Evans termed his work “documentary fashion photography“ as an attempt to capture the readable quality of clothing in pictorial form. This article examines this body of work, paying particular attention to the hat as an item of apparel, once described by Evans as “a sort of defiant signature.“

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