White Castle’s 10,000 team members will soon be sporting a new uniform designed by a Queens native to commemorate the fast-food hamburger chain’s 100th birthday this year.
The new uniforms are created by renowned and award-winning New York City fashion designer, Telfar Clemens, founder of TELFAR, a genderless fashion label based in Brooklyn. TELFAR’s latest collection includes a T-shirt, polo shirt, apron, visor and durag, all in light blue, royal blue or black. Each piece features the brand name “White Castle” with references to the iconic chain celebrating 100 years “and counting.”
To go with the new release, TELFAR and White Castle’s uniforms were modeled by employees from White Castle’s Bayside location (213-17 Northern Blvd.) and captured in an intimate portrait series shot by Elliot Jerome Brown Jr. featured in Vogue magazine. The durag was added to the uniform collection in response to many White Castle team members who requested it. It’s the first time White Castle has offered the hair accessory and might be the first time any restaurant has done so.
“We wanted something special for our 100th birthday that captures the authentic spirit of White Castle and, as always, TELFAR came through for us,” said Jamie Richardson, a vice president at White Castle. “TELFAR has taken our uniform to a new place, creating something that’s distinctive, attractive and comfortable, and something our team members will feel great in whether they’re at work or hanging out with friends and family.”
TELFAR and White Castle first connected in 2015, when Clemens, a longtime White Castle fan, asked the fast-food company to sponsor their fashion show during New York Fashion Week. White Castle not only sponsored the show, but also hosted the after-party at its Times Square restaurant. The two brands partnered again in 2017 when TELFAR designed a new team member uniform for the family-owned company. Since then, TELFAR has designed and produced three more sets of White Castle team member uniforms, including the 100th birthday version.
“White Castle supported us before our success and we consider them family,” said Babak Radboy, TELFAR’s creative director. “Their team would serve sliders backstage at all our shows and were basically part of our team. It’s still the only thing open after midnight in TELFAR’s hood — seeing our uniforms there means something to us, and so we take it personally.”
In addition to designing employee uniforms, TELFAR also designed a limited-edition White Castle collection, including hats, hoodies and T-shirts, that feature a mashup of White Castle’s and TELFAR’s logos. Proceeds from this line are donated to the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Liberty and Justice Fund, which provides bail to imprisoned minors.
“This is a special friendship between a 100-year-old food business and a 15-year-old fashion house,” Richardson said. “We have genuine reverence for TELFAR’s vision and originality, and more importantly, we believe working together provides us the opportunity to make the world a better place.”