Move over fast fashion. Company couture is now where it’s at. Last month Mashable reported on how Lockheed Martin’s name and logo have been licensed by a South Korea fashion line, and reports indicate the company is the latest to have its company brand take off – not for its planes and drones – but for it’s whites and grays.

It may seem like a bizarre trend – and Mashable lampoons the notion – but it’s really nothing new for anyone who’s actually worked in the defense industry (well, maybe having your brand licensed, but certainly not wearing the company logo). Branded fashion is popular across a variety of companies, with support from stylers from Patagonia to Zazzle lining up to supply your need to flash some company swag on your next Zoom call.

Call it loyalty, call it laziness, but you don’t have to work for a company to enjoy rocking their duds – ask anyone who has walked the aisles of a tradeshow in the past 20 years. The uniform of the defense industry has always been to sport a company logo and tagline – South Korea is just taking it to the next level.

ClearanceJobs is not immune to the allure of defense industrial complex fashion – we took our SWAG store public facing, we are so proud of it. (Call me, South Korea! I have a licensing deal for you!!!) It’s a testament to a company’s creative culture to not just have some great logo attire – but have employees wiling to show it off. And gone are the days when your only or best option is a moisture wicking polo. Post-COVID has created the rise of the T-shirt as acceptable business attire. Whether we can credit the tech bros or we’re all just craving casual – or maybe we’re tightening our spending belts – but the rise of the graphic tee has also hit the company attire industry, with  more and more companies dolling out hip taglines across well-washed cotton.

The best part about the licensing agreement in South Korea is that you don’t even have to work for these companies to sport their attire. The counterintelligence arm of our industry is throwing their hands in the air, and saying why would you make yourself a target by wearing company gear while out and about. Look – we’re not saying you should go drinking at a bar in your Secret Squirrel T-shirt, bring home a redhead, and let them steal your laptop. But if Lockheed Martin can become a hot fashion brand and not just a leading defense contractor – maybe someday we can all be swapping logos and company attire like NASCAR on Sunday. It’s not like the companies themselves aren’t already supporting the notion with their own stores and merchandise.

I liken it to those ‘CIA’ t-shirts they used to sell to tourists on the streets of DC (do they still sell those?! Or is it only ice cream and $20 chicken tenders?!). If you wear one – you’re not in the CIA. If defense industrial complex high fashion can have a moment – I’m here for it.

Maybe defense industry fashion will become like college fashion – a sign of an affinity, if not an affiliation. I don’t hate rooting for the DIB the way you root for your favorite college team – quite frankly, this is the moment the poly-sci nerd in me has been waiting for. All I wonder is if defense industrial high fashion will be like college sweatshirts were back when I was applying – I had friends who took it to mythical proportions that they would never buy a sweatshirt for a top tier school unless they actually got in. If I buy the Lockheed Martin Essential Jacket in Khaki Beige with ‘Enough’ fit – will I jinx my chance of being hired? Or, if I wear it to my interview, will it be an instant yes?!


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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer