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Working Titles – The Last of Us

Working Titles takes a closer look at specific films with a denim and workwear aesthetic with the goal of examining the material’s shifting cultural image.

Fortunately, we live in a world where the only fungus attack we have to worry about is a bad case of athlete’s foot. This is a shame for no other reason than that we will never get to look as cool in a survival situation as Joel Miller from The Last of Us. Traditional workwear and outdoors gear have been two of the primary influences on popular men’s fashion for a while now, which means we probably all have a decent amount of gear in our closets that would see us through a post-apocalyptic landscape. 

Both the game designers at Naughty Dog — who invented 3D platform video games with their legendary jort-wearing denim head, Crash Bandicoot — and the wardrobe department for the HBO series did an excellent job of realistically outfitting their protagonists. When the bulk of the story takes place, the survivors are just trying to get on with their lives. They’re not camping and, aside from FEDRA (Federal Disaster Response Agency), they’re not soldiers. Most of the people are wearing whatever clothes they have left or could find. There must be a degree of style involved but for the most part it is all about dressing for comfort and survival.

Form and Function


Joel in his Flint and Tinder waxed trucker. Image via HBO.

When we find survivor Joel Miller in Boston, it has been twenty years since the outbreak. This means his well-put-together wardrobe is an indication that he is a man of means. As smugglers for the Quarantine Zone (QZ), Joel and his partner/love interest, Tess, have access to luxury items like guns, drugs, and new clothes. Joel went through a lot in those twenty years, the details of which gradually emerge as the show plays out. He knows well enough that his attire has to be durable and versatile. 


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