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July 11, 2005 1:42 PM   Subscribe

McDonald's plans to hire top designers to remake its uniforms. McD's recently hired music mogul Steve Stoute, a marketer with ties to the hip-hop community, and is contemplating deals with fashion figures ranging from Sean "P. Diddy" Combs to Tommy Hilfiger, in a move that could cost as much as $80 mil.
posted by Blue Buddha (58 comments total)

 
I for one am looking forward to seeing McDonald's employees being hindered in their workplace by having to wear trousers whose crotch hangs down by their knees.
posted by clevershark at 1:45 PM on July 11, 2005


Hawaii McDonald's shirts are fun, rare finds in the continental states...
posted by Rothko at 1:46 PM on July 11, 2005


I for one am looking forward to seeing McDonald's employees being hindered in their workplace by having to wear trousers whose crotch hangs down by their knees.
posted by clevershark at 1:45 PM PST on July 11 [!] [quote]


Dumb, and racist. Look at fashion for the past 15 years, it has mostly come (with the exception of Hugo Boss minimalism and Versaci South Beach explosion) from the street.

While only 15% of America is African America, their contribution to culture is enormous. McDonalds is just the latest corporate entity to jump on the money train.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:49 PM on July 11, 2005


On a lighter note, FARK just ran a Photoshop contest on what the new uniforms will look like. (Fark seems to be AWOL right now, but it'll be back in a jiffy, I think.)
posted by unixrat at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2005


I think also that african americans make up a much larger portion of Mc'd's customers.
posted by delmoi at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2005


No, "TJH", that was what people who aren't haters call "funny". Your own comments belabor the obvious. But in any case, the adulatory tone of those articles is hilarious. They might as well all say, "You like McDonalds, and you love stars stars STARS!!! So let's all get in a circle jerk about it!!!!!"
posted by gorgor_balabala at 1:54 PM on July 11, 2005


Sean "P. Diddy" Combs

So we can look forward to McBling anyday now, I guess.
posted by jonmc at 1:57 PM on July 11, 2005


Dumb, and racist.

Um -- no and no.
This whole concept is such perfect silliness, I'm kinda flabergasted.

I'm lovin' it!
posted by undule at 2:01 PM on July 11, 2005


Dumb, and racist.

Ra-what?
posted by rafter at 2:07 PM on July 11, 2005


McMusic and McClothing .. try as they might, they are missing the point, the harder they try, the worst it gets.
posted by stbalbach at 2:15 PM on July 11, 2005


I read an article today in my local paper (which is only partially available online, so no link, sorry) that quoted Russel Simmons as saying "I am not in talks with them, I'm a vegan! It goes against my principles" The article made it pretty clear that Simmons wanted no association with the McDonalds brand.

It was a CP (Canadian Press) article, so it's probably available online somewhere.
posted by raedyn at 2:18 PM on July 11, 2005


Fursuits. Assless fursuits.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:19 PM on July 11, 2005


They tried the same thing with Tim Horton's here-- They tried to push the uniforms as sexy. We had commercials with teens cruising each other on buses. It was impotence inducing.

Even if they design the swankiest uniforms known to humankind, they're not going to get over two hurdles, the less important one being that working at McDonald's is as prestigious as it is lucrative. It's bottom of the barrel. The more important one is the smell. Very few people want to smell like a burger joint.

You want a meal with that shirt?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 2:25 PM on July 11, 2005


The funniest line I heard on a CNN story about this was that (paraphrase) McDonald's is hoping that the uniforms look so good, employees will want to wear them when they aren't at work. Heh. Yeah, right.
posted by beelzbubba at 2:30 PM on July 11, 2005


They could have picked up Jean-Paul Gauthier. Wait, no, Gauthier is too nineteen nineties.
posted by NewBornHippy at 2:40 PM on July 11, 2005


It would have to be a huge improvement and, if it's done well, will no doubt go a long way toward improving worker morale. The uniform pants they usually provide or require fit horribly, they make your ass look strange and they are too tight through the thighs, and bell out in just the wrong way around your upper ankles--not your shoes. It's like one more thing to hate about your terrible job, is the uniform that makes you feel like they want you to look bad. One thing urban designers know it's how to make a pair of pants fit like they're comfortable.
posted by nervousfritz at 2:40 PM on July 11, 2005


> The funniest line I heard on a CNN story about this was that
> (paraphrase) McDonald's is hoping that the uniforms look so good,
> employees will want to wear them when they aren't at work. Heh.
> Yeah, right.

Well, you know, last time I checked, McDonald's still thinks they
server perfectly fine food.
posted by NewBornHippy at 2:41 PM on July 11, 2005


You know your sub-culture isn't cool when fast food joints start mimicking it...
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:42 PM on July 11, 2005


On second thought, whatever human kindness is delivered via a good cut to the outfit, will be decimated by the ronald mcdonald / hip hop flavor logos emblazoned all over it in clown like fashion. That will be due to the corporate board's input into the design process.
posted by nervousfritz at 2:44 PM on July 11, 2005


No, "TJH", that was what people who aren't haters call "funny".

Yeah, it was a riot. </sarcasm>
posted by kenko at 2:53 PM on July 11, 2005


I'm having horrible visions of Burger King uniforms from the 70s.

So, is McD's planning on updatign thier uniform every year or two so their employees aren't laughed off the bus when they walk on in clothes that are 5 years ugly?
posted by Dillenger69 at 2:58 PM on July 11, 2005



posted by blue_beetle at 3:09 PM on July 11, 2005


The Jesse Helms:

So, wearing trousers where the crotch hangs down to the knees is an enormous contribution to culture? I didn't know! I thought it was just a bunch of insecure dudes who would wear anything in their desperation to look "kewl."
posted by Chasuk at 3:12 PM on July 11, 2005


None of the designers mentioned are anywhere near what I'd consider "top designers". Until Valentine Couture starts designing swank McD's outfits I will put this up as a publicity stunt. They have to spend a shitload remaking their outfits, so why not get some free press out of it? Great marketing move. I'm sure the costs of doing it in house or with a less trendy firm are negligble considering the overall costs of this project.
posted by geoff. at 3:17 PM on July 11, 2005


Dillenger69:

Gosh, I'd really hate to wear clothes that might be out of date/5 years ugly, because then people might, you know, laugh at me, and I would be SOOO sad!

I guess I'll be throwing out my whole wardrobe...
posted by Chasuk at 3:23 PM on July 11, 2005


I had always suspected they provided uniforms that masked the female form in some sort of attempt to discourage on-the-job sexual harassment.

You know, to make the 16 year old girls look unappealing to the 26 year old graveyard manager lustful with newly-promoted power.
posted by sourwookie at 3:26 PM on July 11, 2005


Do workers at MacDonald's have to buy their own uniforms? Are the new ones going to cost a lot more than their old ones? I'm just curious.
posted by Staggering Jack at 3:31 PM on July 11, 2005


Pimp my Workers?!
posted by homodigitalis at 3:34 PM on July 11, 2005


No, "TJH", that was what people who aren't haters call "funny".

Yeah, it was a riot.


Eh, I chuckled.
posted by puke & cry at 3:37 PM on July 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


The Jesse Helms : "Dumb, and racist."

Racist?

Hiphop != black.
posted by Bugbread at 4:12 PM on July 11, 2005


I laughed at clevershark's comment because I see dumbshit kids every day of my life seeing just how far off their ass they can get their jeans to sit. One guy I saw a week or two ago had his jeans all the way below his boxers, you could see skin between his boxers and the top of his jeans.

Needless to say, I nearly drove off the road laughing so hard at him. And he was just standing still, the idea of that kid moving or running like that is even funnier.
posted by fenriq at 4:13 PM on July 11, 2005


Chasuk:
Like ... y'know ... being a 30 something dad I really don't care what I wear. However, they are doing this redesign to make the clothes more appealing to employees and youth culture in general.
You can't appeal to youth cuture for more than a year or two at a time before whatever you have is considered horribly outdated and ugly.
All "updating" the uniforms will do is bite them in the butt in the long run.
posted by Dillenger69 at 4:15 PM on July 11, 2005


What's with all the racial sensitivity of late? POWER TO THE PEOPLE AND LOWRIDING PANTS!
posted by snsranch at 4:22 PM on July 11, 2005


Sagging makes your torso look longer. Hence: attractiveness. Not that it's been particularly popular since the late '90s.

Bugbread: true. But forms of culture dominated by black people tend to be disproportionately derided, which is annoying.
posted by Tlogmer at 4:36 PM on July 11, 2005


fenriq : Okay, that's kind of funny. Nobody in metro Detroit sags, anyway.
posted by Tlogmer at 4:37 PM on July 11, 2005


Dillenger69:

Okay. Point taken. My apologies, as I seem to have misunderstood your previous post.

Tlogmer:

I deride whatever form of culture deserves it. If that culture happens to be dominated by black people, so be it. My scorn is colorblind.
posted by Chasuk at 4:42 PM on July 11, 2005


My scorn is colorblind.

Hmm. Well said.

But what exactly to you mean by "black people"?
posted by snsranch at 4:56 PM on July 11, 2005


TJH can believe whatever he wants, but he's the one who dragged race into this thread. Vanilla Ice wore those damn low-crotch trousers as much as MC Hammer did...
posted by clevershark at 4:59 PM on July 11, 2005


Baggy, low slung trousers? Because MacDonalds employees wearing a uniform styled on prison garb is funny.
posted by Joeforking at 5:06 PM on July 11, 2005


I'm Lovin' It! (tm)
posted by Balisong at 5:16 PM on July 11, 2005


Chasuk, your derision is stupid. If you really think kids dress the way they do because they're "insecure" and desperate to be cool--well it says much more about you than it says about them. Maybe try growing up and getting handle on your own insecurity.

As for McDonald's stunt, they must not realize how far they've fallen. McD's still has a lot of cache with youths and there'll always be a bit of ghetto-chic to fast, greasy food--but McD's will never be hot enough for a clothing line. It might work for a little while as a kind of ironic joke, but the joke'll fade very quickly. They'd be much better off spending their money on healthier, higher-quality offerings.
posted by nixerman at 5:22 PM on July 11, 2005


If you really think kids dress the way they do because they're "insecure" and desperate to be cool--well it says much more about you than it says about them.

How old are you?
posted by Hal Mumkin at 5:35 PM on July 11, 2005


Couldn't they just sell good fine hiquality food.....ooooohh wait now I get it ;) !! Ehehe rap :) Yeah sure, rhymes with crap !
posted by elpapacito at 5:36 PM on July 11, 2005


Personally, I think whatever they come up with, they will have a hard time besting Carl Jr's new uniform. Of course they will have to hire better bodies....no snacking at work.....never mind.
posted by phoffmann at 5:54 PM on July 11, 2005


If you really think kids dress the way they do because they're "insecure" and desperate to be cool--well it says much more about you than it says about them.

Really? What does it say? Explicate, please.

And what Hal Mumkin said: How old are you?
posted by Chasuk at 6:19 PM on July 11, 2005


1) it reminds me of the attempt of McDs to have a kiddie clothing line a few years back. havent heard anything about that in awhile.
2) All this effort for crappy food?
3) What they should just do is make blue jeans and some sort of cheap, comfy shirt the costume. it wouldn't go out of styleand be easy for the employees to handle.
4) Can't speak for all McDs, but someone asked if employees had to buy their own cloths, back in early '90s when I was desperate i worked there for 6 months, the outfit was provided... and everyday when I walked home I wiped my hands on the railroad tracks to get rid of any trace of the place.
posted by edgeways at 6:31 PM on July 11, 2005


In every McDonald's I've been in lately, half the employees are the stereotypical pimply-faced teen/20-something, while the other half are retirees back in the job force trying to earn a little more money to supplement their social security. Are they gonna make the grandmas wear the same bling as the kidz?
posted by yhbc at 6:34 PM on July 11, 2005


Back in the 80s, many of the McDonald's in Detroit (or at least the inner-most sections) were proudly boasting an "Afro-centric" (as they called it) look. They had neon "Mickey D's" signs on the sides of the buildings and the employees wore pseudo-Kente cloth uniforms with Aso Oke hats.
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:34 PM on July 11, 2005


1) it reminds me of the attempt of McDs to have a kiddie clothing line a few years back. havent heard anything about that in awhile.

I believe they sell the McKids line at Walmart.

If McDonald's wants to modernize their image they need to dump Ronald McDonald and give the gig to Grimace. He is truly an under-recognized talent.
posted by jrossi4r at 7:36 PM on July 11, 2005


If you really think kids dress the way they do because they're "insecure" and desperate to be cool--well it says much more about you than it says about them.

Has there ever been another reason? Parachute pants and hitcher pants are cut from the same cloth, so to speak.

How old are you?

Most people are still dressing for these reasons at least through their thirties in their leisure, and through their fifties at work.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:28 PM on July 11, 2005


Some people wear bling because they're insecure. Some people wear raver hoodies because they're insecure. Some people wear punk paraphanalia because they're insecure. Some people wear suits and buttondowns because they're insecure.

But most people (this varies depending on the locale) wear the clothes they do because (1) they like the way they look (2) the individual articles have meaning. Wearing black anarchist attire and ripped pants means nobody overly corporate will hire you. Wearing lots of makeup means a certain type of guy will think you're cute. Wearing a beatles shirt means you like the beatles. Wearing the most practical stuff you can find means you want to be comfortable because you like physical activity -- more, it means comfortable clothing is your priority, above looking cool to some people. And, of course, if you eschew looking cool to some people, you'll end up looking cool to other people. Culture is delineated in all sorts of ways, and fashion, for all its faults, is one of them.

My scorn is colorblind.

Easy to say. But most prejudice hasn't been conscious for a long time. There's a reason jazz was more popular in Europe than the U.S.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:43 PM on July 11, 2005


I worked at a McDonald's for three years (it was the only place that would hire 15-year-olds in the area). Whatever they do, they need to make the uniforms grease proof. I liked my Arch Deluxe Shirt though.
posted by dial-tone at 9:32 PM on July 11, 2005


Wait, you mean the hiphop community has forgiven them for the "I'd hit that" blunder?
posted by ddf at 9:34 PM on July 11, 2005


Sagging makes your torso legs look longer shorter. Hence: unattractiveness.

No matter who they get, Armani, Combs, Hilfinger, the uniforms will be 100% polyester and hence ugly as ______(fill in the blank yourself.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:32 AM on July 12, 2005


I can't wait to see my local Micky-Dee's employees stylin' in new uniforms. MMMM...makes me want to eat more burgers!
(lame).
posted by aether1 at 10:55 AM on July 12, 2005


Here's the article that raedyn was mentioning upthread. Russell Simmons categorically denies having anything to do with this.
posted by soyjoy at 1:26 PM on July 12, 2005


Whatever anyone here says, it's irrelevant. We all know that most of the people here are not fans of McDonald's and really never would be, so making themselves over for what you guys think they should do would be the ultimate in idiocy.

Of course, I'm not certain that what they're doing is right, if only because I don't think ANYONE is marketing towards, well, THE MAJORITY OF AMERICA. McDonald's is a bit too big to focus their efforts on niche market, methinks.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:02 PM on July 12, 2005


btw, we should remember that the saggy beltless pants thing is (or at least used to be, or is for those who really give a f***) an expression of solidarity with people in prison whose belts are confiscated. but then, some people read meaning into everything--and some don't.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:00 PM on July 12, 2005


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