So, you’re probably wondering, is Art Of Uniformity® fashion or uniforms? Simple answer: it’s both. And you’re probably also wondering, why a scrubs capsule? Allow me to explain everything…
When I first moved to LA from Chicago back in 2008, I started my career as an apparel technical designer. Technical designers work closely with designers to create the “blueprints” of a garment (aka a tech pack), but there isn’t a ton of creativity involved. It’s a lot of measuring, numbers and pattern manipulation to get the best fit while staying true to the designer’s aesthetic. My first job was working as a tech designer for a uniform company that produced mostly medical uniforms (scrubs, lab coats, etc). If you had asked me then whether I would make a career out of it, I would have said HELLLL no. Not that there was anything wrong with being a tech designer for scrubs, but as a newbie in the fashion biz, I was hoping for something a bit more exciting and, I dunno…sexy?
Fast forward to 2021. After working for over 10 apparel companies and gaining valuable experience in both fashion and uniforms, I finally had an epiphany. I realized that uniforms are actually incredibly sexy. Not just for how they look, but for what they represent. What I love about them most is their practicality and simplicity. Uniforms, for the most part, serve a functional purpose, so there is a lot of thought and problem solving that goes into the designs—everything from the types of fabrics to pocket size/placement. The biggest challenge is making a uniform look good without sacrificing comfort and functionality for the wearer. Being a little (ok, a LOT) obsessed with military uniforms, I used them as my inspiration to design the first scrubs collection. The uniform designs are mostly inspired by other types of uniforms as opposed to being inspired by fashion trends.
The style component is just one highlight of this capsule and all the AOU collections. Another important factor that I don't see enough of in apparel, especially in the uniform space, is the lack of sustainability. Right after I received my fashion design degree (so, so long ago), I created my first womenswear line that consisted of all organic and natural fabrics like cotton, hemp and bamboo blends. Sustainability has always been important to me, especially now after working in the fashion industry for so many years and seeing the waste and toxicity it creates. I worked for a lot of “fast fashion” brands, and let me tell you, it’s pretty gross. The main purpose behind producing so much newness is to get people addicted to buying more crap they don’t need. When you have to pump out so many SKU's with crazy deadlines and cost restraints, the quality of the product suffers, which is why you see so many cheap, ill-fitting garments out there. Art Of Uniformity® is the antithesis of fast fashion. We do things a lot slower because our designs don’t follow fashion trends, which means they can be worn for years instead of weeks.
Having said all that, I just want to talk briefly about our most recent launch of the “Strategos” jacket. There are so many things I love about this style. If you visit our shop, you’ll notice that it sits in two collections, the Medical Uniform Capsule collection and the Uniform Core Styles collection. That’s because it’s an incredibly versatile unisex garment that serves multiple functions and can be styled countless ways. As a scrub jacket, it’s perfect for the freezing hospitals and doctor’s offices. There are tons of easy-access pockets for storage with the ability to change the size of the waist and sleeve openings. The fabric is made from organic, brushed cotton and sewn locally here in Los Angeles, CA. The persona of this piece was taken from an oil painting I did a few years ago called “Gladiator Gladiolus,” depicting a Spartan helmet being speared by a red gladiolus flower. The warrior characteristic, combined with strong masculine and feminine elements is what manifested in garment-form as “Strategos.”
The other styles in the scrubs capsule are set to launch later this year, but not before they pass all the necessary tests. Remember what I said about doing things slow? We will never sacrifice quality for speed. And trust me, it’s worth the wait!
Image of "Gladiator Gladiolus" © Shireen Renée Art