Couturiers have used the man's suit as an inexhaustible source of inspiration for women's fashion since the end of the 19th century. Female fashion has thus completely absorbed all the components of the male wardrobe so that nowadays it is only individual details that are still being incorporated, practically unchanged, into ladies wear. Especially the 20th and the 21st centuries can be regarded as a period of details, which have left permanent traces in the clothing of various social groups.
The shirt, more so than any other item of the man's wardrobe, is used to make a statement about the financial situation and the status of the wearer. Since the end of the 18th century it has slowly evolved into the shape we are familiar with today. Basic components of a shirt have always been the cuffs and the collar. They could be bought separately (in order to avoid having to buy a new shirt), which made it appealing to the fast-growing middle classes.
At the beginning of the 19th century certain kinds of cuffs were very expensive and could be seen as luxury items. The English Parliament, for example, is said to have denied Charles II the purchase of new cuffs because of their high price.
The end of the 19th century, characterised by rapid industrialisation, imposed extremely strict regulations on men's wear, thus defining what was acceptable. Even today the seasonal variations and deviations from the norm in men's fashion are insignificant and hardly noticeable when compared to women's fashion.
Apart from the T-shirt, not a single element has been added to the male wardrobe in the past century. Ladies wear, on the other hand, has completely absorbed trousers and made them into an integral part of its repertoire.
Nowadays a man's suit can very well consist of a pair of jeans, a T-shirt and a suit jacket. What is missing here and can we add something to this?
Contemporary design necessarily needs to refer to history, and a conceptual, ironic approach is as much a prerequisite as high quality production and technology.
What we would like to suggest is the combination of cuffs and collar by means of a scarf / making a scarf out of cuffs and collar. Such a garment can be worn together with a shirt as well as with a T-shirt, which allows a man to be well-dressed while functioning either in a business or a casual environment.
This item of clothing, which is based on one of the key elements of the male wardrobe (namely the shirt), is not trying to change the definition of masculinity. Rather, it works in favour of the intellect and the playfulness of the imagination.
Lena Kvadrat, 2009