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The history of Dickies Workwear
Dickies Workwear began back in 1922 Texas when the duo of C.N. Williamson and E.E. "Colonel" Dickie’ co-founded the Williamson-Dickie manufacturing company. Originally the pair had set out in the vehicle and harness industry but were soon to become pioneering leaders of this iconic American brand.
Dickies History 1930’s – 1940’s
The great depression saw many companies downsizing during the 1930's, Dickies workwear however still continued to grow, while so many around them were making cut backs, Dickies were taking on more staff and expanding, a move that proved to be incredibly fruitful. The brand now had a highly capable production line; this never went unnoticed by the U.S. government as they sought to sequester Dickies work wear to produce uniforms for the United States military during World War II.
Dickies went on to produce millions of uniforms for the army, which rather cleverly was the perfect marketing tool for the company. Many soldiers after the war came home to return to the trades they had left behind, and of course they needed safety work clothing, and they knew just what they wanted; as did Dickies. The popularity of their work apparel on the domestic front was now immense, the de-facto choice for both men and women.
Dickies History 1950’s – 1960’s
The expansion of Dickies now seemed inevitable, oil workers known at the time as “men of production” formerly of the Texas oil fields; found work abroad in the growing oil industry of the Middle East. Having hardy, reliable clothes was of great concern to many Americans so it seemed only natural to take Dickies with them; this saw the emergence of the brand across the Middle East and continental Europe, Dickies was now a global brand.
Through the 1960’s Dickies marketing was aimed more at the young and educated, any self respecting American college student of this era would own some form of Dickies Campus Casuals. Being the fashion statement of the time was to become standard practice for Dickies, through the following decades the brand would be continuously popular in public opinion through many mediums including music.
Dickies History 1970’s – 1980’s
Always having great foresight for smart and effective marketing campaigns, now with the 1970’s in full swing they had to appeal to a wider audience and this meant being more affordable to the masses. Using the slogan “We’re Basic” Dickies workwear found a whole new following of savvy shoppers, they wanted good value for money and Dickies willingly obliged with many offerings available at rock bottom prices, of course at the time Dickies were having to fend off new and cheaper imports from Asia, they had to be competitive.
Through the 1980’s the company underwent some restructuring to ensure they kept this competitive edge, this restructuring helped the company to a reported a 15% annual growth rate year on year; throughout the entire decade. Strategically the company’s manufacturing base was a touch of genius with output coming from New Jersey, California and even the Caribbean.
Dickies History 1990’s – 2000
A new sound began to emerge across the Atlantic almost overnight thanks to meteoric rise of hip-hop and rap subcultures, artists used the brand in an act of defiance on traditional fashion; a kind of slur toward what was perceived to be the norm. Major artists such as NWA, KRS-One and Queen Latifah all wearing the brand and catapulting it into the public eye as Urban Fashion, a phrase coined on the back of African American culture.
As dawn broke on a new millennium the company were in prime position to capture upcoming cultural shifts in fashion, a trend that still continues. Dickies Today is perhaps one of the most recognisable safety clothing manufacturers in the world, the boundaries of the brand are limitless; manufacturing everything from casual jeans to children’s school uniforms and protective workwear, quite simply; a Dickies product for everyone. If you would like to know more about Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing past and present visit our Blog for a full in-depth report.
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