While perusing the wares at Dover Street Market New York (aka Temple of All Clothes Cool) trying to recapture my fleeting youth, I stumbled upon Labour and Wait’s little enclave to the right of the main entrance. Less traditional clothing brand, more curator of old-school, well-made gear, the UK-based brand has assembled a collection of the most function-over-form versions of home goods, kitchen tools, outdoor accessories and British clothing.
Labour and Wait is not the type of brand you typically see in DSM. DSM is known for stocking the most avant-garde (weird) shit. Pants with 6 sleeves, hats for your ankles, shoes with no soles, that kind of thing. DSM is so cool that that they even opted NOT to sell Yeezys, essentially rejecting free money (artists… amirite? *rolls eyes*)
Contrastingly, Labour and Wait specializes in the Naoto Fukusawa-esque Super Normal. Think the ultimate expression of selvedge jeans, British knitwear, French chore coats and Australian work boots. As such, uh, something something jarring juxtaposition of Labour and Wait’s modernist tendencies on the store’s postmodern environment, or some smart, intellectual shit like that.
I’m too tasteless to know what of their non-clothing offerings are actually good, but I find their metal lunchbox extremely well-designed, with gaskets in all the right places and a fitted divider. It’s reminiscent of the mess tin I used to throw into fires back in my Scouting days. With this, you can pair your lunches with your Buzz Ricksons and take your military-but-make-it-fashion cosplay to the next level.
Labour and Wait does not sell anything particularly unique, but that’s the point. The products represent, in their minds, the best versions of everyday items, perfected over time by old-world companies. It’s the same button-shoulder Armor Lux sweaters and Blundstones that you can get anywhere, but seeing it in context with everything else makes the whole more than the sum of its parts. It is curation a la Tumblr moodboards, and is immensely valuable now that social media is drip feeding us new brands through our every bodily orifice.
I also like that they say where everything is sourced from, but I would like to see them actually highlight the companies that made the stuff. I can’t see why they don’t — potential customers might seek the source out directly — but it’s disingenuous to infer the products as either made or designed by them. I, for one, definitely thought that the case before digging deeper into the brand.
While I have not pulled the trigger on anything yet, I can see myself owning one of everything. In particularly, I’m angling towards the fisherman turtlenecks, guernseys (made by Le Tricoteur), and utility totes (made by Matsunoya).
Everything is available on their website, though the stuff they have just looks way better in a brick and mortar setting as everything is in view in context. Labour and Wait is based in the UK, but it ships internationally.