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It’s official. Workwear has entered its baroque period…or at least Japanese workwear.

This linen blend fishing vest from the Japanese brand Mean might be the perfect example. There’s a reason we haven’t seen one before: If you tried to take it fishing, it would soak through from the tiniest splash. Linen is probably the least rugged material available, which is one of the many reasons it hasn’t found its way into workwear just yet.

In other words, someone is having some fun with us…

The problem for marques like Mean is that anyone who wants an authentic fishing vest already knows where to get it—and they’ve been hot for long enough that some folks are getting just a tiny bit tired of them. It’s ripe for a clever twist, like a fabric substitution that lends the entire endeavor an ironic edge. And if it makes the clothes somewhat useless and brings a strong odor of self-parody into the mix, so be it.

Now that we think of it, the recessed middle button looks a little familiar too

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom