How Dickies straddles work and play
Dickies has spent much of its 100-year existence providing durable workwear options to people around the US. Founded in 1922 by CN Williamson and EE Dickie in Fort Worth, Texas, the brand has a deep heritage that tracks back to the overalls supplied to farms and ranches in the southwest in its early years. Since then it has formed the basis of uniforms across a broad spectrum of often physical work, from supplying the army during World War II to kitting out hospital staff in scrubs.
In recent years, Dickies has also enjoyed a new chapter with a different pool of customers, as artists and creators, dancers and skaters began to adopt the brand for themselves. It’s a pattern that’s played out among many brands once known for their practicality and indifference towards passing trends. Carhartt is one of the more obvious comparison points, as well as the other functional-turned-lifestyle brands owned by VF Corporation, which bought Dickies in 2017, such as the North Face and Timberland.
“We really have an incredibly diverse community that has been attracted to the brand for very different reasons,” says Sarah Crockett, who joined Dickies as global CMO earlier this year, explaining that the brand has been “adopted by a broader community beyond those who are sweating it out in the workplace in our product, and looking to our products to provide durability and protection”.
“Now it becomes more of a symbol of self-expression,” she continues, “and you see that with how people are really personalising the brand for their own needs and adopting it in a way that suits them, whether that’s changing the pant length by simply cutting off the hem at interesting places, or rolling over the waistband, or turning pants into shorts, pants into skirts. We’re seeing it all happen in front of us and it’s really amazing to observe.”
Top and above: Portraits from the Made in Dickies campaign