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Work clothes for the farmer…construction worker…Wall Street hipster?

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When you think of Carhartt®, Dickies®, and other similar workwear brands, chances are you think of quality, durable clothing for slabbing tile, working in the barn, hauling freight on the dock or one of the countless professions the brands have become synonymous with.  How many of you own work clothes like a Carhartt® work jacket or some boots, Dickies® overalls, or gear from another workwear brand?  Well, hang on to your hard hat…because brands like these are finding new life with “hipster fashion and casual office”.

I mean, would you ever think to see Carhartt® and Dickies® gear worn like this?
I mean, would you ever think to see Carhartt® and Dickies® gear worn like this?

Yes, brands made for guys handling heavy machinery now seem to be finding their niche with guys who aren’t even using a hammer.  For example, Carhartt® now has a Work in Progress collection, described as “original workwear cuts reinterpreted and refitted for the demands of an active life in the urban environment.” Stores are all over the world.  And where a “regular” pair of traditional-fit jeans might run about $40, a pair of WIP jeans are over $100.  Another example can be seen with L.C. King jackets selling for $800 in Tokyo.

Yes…$800 for a jacket from a company your great-grandfather could have gotten his work clothes from.

So the fashionably conscious guy working in a 50-story building in Seattle is buying a slimmer version of a Filson® jacket originally made for loggers.  Dickies® has their iconic “work-inspired” overalls now made with a “contemporary, fashion approach.” Is this a big deal? Whether globalization, the North American Free Trade Agreement or other factors, American businesses that once saw a drop in factory work now have the sewing machines buzzing again.

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The times, they are a-changing.  So what do you think?  Is there a place for these brands to adapt to survive?  Can some work gear be “fashionable”?  Is it just a bunch of soft city kids trying to be “cool and rugged”?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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