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Legacy workwear takes to the streets
Dickies gets a fresh new look.

Legacy workwear takes to the streets

THE UNGENTLEWOMAN - Gabbie Tatad (The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2021 - 12:00am

You may have been one of the many scrolling through Instagram, seeing images from this particular campaign and wondering what local streetwear brand was launching. You may have been equally surprised to discover that it was Dickies Philippines.

The brand popped up in mid-March, posting images dripping in warm golden light, of men in motion, clad in what can only be described as pieces of practical but alluring comfort.

How it started

We’ve known Dickies as the go-to workwear brand, having been around since the 1920s. The brand was birthed in Texas and became known for their production of the bib overall. But as they expanded, they began to produce work clothes for a number of careers, as well as garments for the casual clothes wearer. Their main identifying feature, however, is their clothing’s emphasis on durability, decades of unmatched quality, affordability, and how their garments evoke a sense of “pride that embodies the spirit of the American worker.”

The company’s hold on tradition has also been key to their evolution. In World War II, they manufactured uniforms for the US military in the millions. Last year, they stepped up to the plate again with a donation of millions of medical gowns for US healthcare workers.

Dickies has also been known to put their money where their mouth is, taking an open stance in supporting equality and Black-owned businesses. They’ve made donations to the National Urban League (NUL) and the Harold Hunter Foundation (HHF). The former is an organization historically known to defend civil rights, as well as for its urban advocacy that affects at least 300 communities and effectively two million people across the United States. HHF, on the other hand, is a grassroots community-based organization with whom Dickies has partnered since 2017, and which uses skateboarding as a tool in connecting with and nurturing underserved youth.

How it’s going

As we progress through 2021, Dickies brings the quality of both its name and garments to the Philippines, with a campaign that hearkens to the original spirit of the Independent Makers that the brand started with. The imagery in this campaign takes us out of the current streetwear aesthetic that serves fashion more than function, and instead takes real clothes to the streets.

The palette of the clothing in these photos stays neutral with khakis, whites, navy blues, olives and blacks. Thoughtful details like contrast stitching on pieces like the Oxford Graphic Logo Coach jacket and Hickory Cut and Sewn jacket, minimal logos and quietly designed patches elevate the workwear style into a real streamlined cool. These garments are made to hit the pavement and endure every movement, evoking a true utilitarian chic that is as functional as it is easy on the eyes.

In an era where work occurs in more fluid spaces, Dickies also aims to expand its vocabulary and definitions of work, with this message: “Making is no longer only about labor, work, mechanics; to Dickies, making has evolved to build one’s independent voice in a hyper connected world of increasing diversity.”

Our streets, our creatives

This can be seen in their features on creatives that reflect their brand values, who were chosen for being in tune with the genuine quality of character, a consideration that seems to hit quite close to Dickies’ core principles. “When choosing the Makers we wanted to feature for Dickies, the first guideline we had was to not just focus on their follower counts on social media. We believe that the Makers we selected are influential in ways that maybe won’t directly translate to online followers, but with the communities they’re part of. We also wanted to work with people who embodied the spirit of the brand — people who were building things that are meant to last rather than something trendy or of-the-moment,” according to their statement.

They’ve recently featured Omar Baliw, a hip-hop artist and entrepreneur that the brand says they’ve admired for several reasons. “(He) naturally knows how to build community because of the energy around him. He’s not someone necessarily known in most circles, but he’s built such an incredible following around him and (through) the work he does. We also love how he’s a family man. Even with all the work he does, he takes time for what’s most important. He’s also really funny.”

We can also look forward to seeing more of stylist Florian Trinidad, who the brand says “fits the category immediately. She was never afraid to be different and her work was always so good. She has a very consistent and focused point of view and it’s great that Dickies was already a brand she’s been wearing for many years.”

As Dickies expands its reach by beginning with homegrown talents that deserve to be amplified, we have to say we love the look of the brand for more than its effortless cool workwear. Practical, enduring quality in our own streets? It’s never looked so good.

* * *

Dickies is now in Lazada’s LazMall and soon on Zalora.

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