July 12th, 2023
Never has a garment so embodied the profound changes in the world of work and, in particular, the agricultural and industrial world. The worker jacket comes to us from the industrial revolution in late 19th century France. Industrial production allowed for the jacket’s distinct color—it was the first modern synthetic pigment, named "Prussian Blue" or "Indigo Blue" (this is the same pigment that gives marks of nobility to "Blue Jeans" and "Work Blue"). Laborers and farm workers would wear these jackets to protect their city or country clothes from dirt, grease, dust—that is to say, the markers of manual labor. In fact, its blue color is what gave rise to the name of the very specific social class of "The Blue Collars."
The “Bleu de Travail” is making a comeback today as a wardrobe staple, and it is for the same reasons as before: timeless style and foolproof practicality. It replaces the denim jacket and thus avoids the dreaded double denim effect, which explains its success with street stylers. The more worn in it gets, the more it will claim its popular and deeply revolutionary origins. It truly is an iconic piece that can be worn for a lifetime. In addition to the style and function, the jacket is also a symbol for honest, quality work.
In a Modern Context
Though the color and style are associated with historical social classes, today the blue worker jacket still speaks to the constraints and demands of workers in a modern context. This cultural relevance is exemplified by the famous American photographer Bill Cunningham (1929-2016), who represented the dissidents of anti-conformity and the right to freedom of judgment. Cunningham was known for his indigo blue moleskin jacket "Le Laboureur" that he wore proudly as he was photographing the biggest celebrities in the world as a way to claim his attachment to the popular world.
Standing with the Farmers, the Winemakers, and the Neo-Artisans
We at Bonde wear the jacket as a way of recognizing the fundamental essence of wine, which is a farmer's product, a product of the land, a product of the winemaker's soul. So, if you wear a Bonde “Bleu de Travail” jacket, then you, too, will claim with style and fashion your support to the winegrowers and artisan manufacturers of this world: to their rights and the existence of the Authors’ wines and the neo-artisan movement, and from the eco-responsible necessity of authenticity and the high-quality standards at affordable prices that it represents.
Some photos of famous customers of Bonde Fine Wine who support the farmers, the winemakers, and the neo-artisans in their own way are pictured in this blog photo.
Where We Get Our Worker Jackets
Even if this jacket is copied by many fashion houses today, Bonde has chosen to respect its origin and its original quality by sourcing only from the authentic manufacturer, Le Laboureur, who continues to make them with ancestral French know-how. Of extraordinary quality, its raw material is 100% moleskin natural cotton—a comfortable, breathable, and, above all ultra-resistant fabric that is suitable for all seasons and can take you from summer to winter and back again. There are “worker jackets” and there are worker jackets—ours are the latter.
Where You’ll Get Your Worker Jacket
We have ordered new sizes and will receive them next week! Come by the shop to try one on and see how it suits you.
Not local? Check out our jackets online here.
Update: We've written more about the jacket here.