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Telfar x White Castle capsule collectionPhotography Jason Nocito

Telfar and fast food chain White Castle release collab

After redesigning the restaurant chain’s uniform, the New York label has released a collaborative capsule collection

America’s oldest fast food chain and an a-gender, avant-garde fashion label might not seem like the most likely partners, but designer Telfar Clemens and White Castle have worked together on a capsule collection – and a whole lot more.

Their collaboration began three years ago, when the New Yorker hosted a fashion week after party at White Castle’s Times Square restaurant, returning again last year. This summer, Telfar redesigned the restaurant’s Uniform to celebrate its 95th anniversary – drawing on his own archives in the process. “It’s actually a runway look,” Clemens told us. “It’s based on the Split-Neck-Polo from AW16.”  

The images that accompanied that project were shot by photographer Jayson Keeling on real White Castle employees. To Clemens, both uniforms, and fashion labels, in general, take away people’s humanity and he was keen to show that side of those featured. “The things that separate designer clothes and working people can get ugly. That’s not what we are about. This is where I’m from and I wanted to show it as it is.”

Now, in addition to the 12,000 employees who will now be wearing the Telfar-designed uniform, everyone else will also be able to buy a selection of Telfar x White Castle merch too. Following a launch party – that was originally meant to be held at one of the restaurant’s chains, but was sadly shut down by the NYPD – the brand announced that it would be releasing a capsule collection inspired by the uniform. “After we did White Castle there was this whole trend about ‘downmarket’ collaborations, but I think that really misses the point,” the designer explained. “It’s corny to talk about ‘elevating’ things – we want to make fashion horizontal.”

The collection itself pays homage to the NYC communities that White Castle is located in – including the Bronx, Harlem, and Clemens’ native Queens – and features the mashed up logos of the two. And it isn’t just about looking good either, 100 per cent of the proceeds will go to helping bail minors out of Rikers Island jail too.

Telfar x White Castles is available online here.