As a way to elevate the dignity of design professionals, Massimo Vignelli had his employees wear white lab coats. How can this sense of professionalism be interpreted through a formal lens, while being functional for a studio environment?
Elements of a men’s suit jacket, such as lapels and welt pockets, would be modified to be more utilitarian, while retaining their ornamental quality. These early paper maquettes explored buttoning a jacket’s lapels to the collar, in similar fashion to a peacoat. This would act a way to cover up when working in a dusty or dirty work space.
A key element considered was the style of the pockets. Various styles were examined to see which were typical for formal versus non-formal garments. Welt pockets are standard on the exterior pockets of a suit jacket, sometimes called besom pockets. A flap may also be present, which covers the pocket from debris, but can be tucked away to be hidden. 
A double breasted jacket was determined to have too many unnecessary buttons (an entire column).If those buttons are removed, the jacket becomes too asymmetrical. 
Also when buttoned, a double breasted jacket creates a very large collar when matched with the lapels. 
A single breasted design was kept to echo a suit jacket and lab coat, and to keep the buttons on the centerline.
This jacket was made as a part of Beyond Fashion 2024, a fashion show hosted by RIT’s Vignelli Center for Design Studies. Each year has a theme, and 2023’s theme was “The Grid is Everything.” The final layout of the jacket is loosely based on the Vignellis’ grid, emphasized with hardware and embellishments. 
The pockets were prototyped as a combination of a flap, a welt, and a patch, with rivets on the corners. It was tested first on a small scale with hardware, a paper pattern was made then at a larger scale without hardware.
The collar was mocked up in paper, muslin, and canvas at full-scale to work out the shape of the pattern piece.
Measurements were taken at the chest (19” across), the shoulder (18”) and drafted to make a torso piece, left long intentionally to hem later. The arm piece was measured at length and given a curve. The paper collar was turned into a fabric piece. Fit and feedback prompted the sleeve and torso to be patterned again and remade.
The second pattern and prototype referenced the previous prototype and other jackets as a sleeve reference. The lapels were fully incorporated into a new pattern, as well as the new sleeve and collar. The prototype was cut long on the sleeves and torso for hemming later. 
With the torso, lapels, collar, sleeves, and pockets finalized, the final pieces were cut with extra length. The final fabric used is a 100% organic cotton 10 oz canvas, sewn with 100% cotton thread and embroidery floss. The rivets are solid brass and the tack buttons are alloy with a brass cap. The canvas’ color and durability makes it a good choice for the hybrid of a shop coat and a lab coat. 
Final Garment

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