Touchpoint of View: From Workwear to Fashion
Workwear has been an essential part of fashion for decades. Workwear have historically been designed to be practical and durable, to withstand the rigors of hard work. It is for these reasons that many garments originally designed as workwear have made their way into the fashion world, becoming popular as casual wear. For example, did you know that the blue and white striped shirt that is now a staple in many brand catalogues was originally produced for the French Navy to aid in finding sailors who had fallen overboard? Or that the classic T-shirt was developed in the late 1800s in the US as an undershirt for sailors? And did you know that the overall dress was originally developed in the early 1900s in the US as workwear for factory workers, with its loose and lightweight design allowing for free movement and cooling in hot factory conditions?
Brands that originally designed workwear have created a strong foundation for sportswear and streetwear brands that now dominate the fashion world. Many of these brands still exist and have expanded their offerings to include athletic clothing, accessories, fragrances, and more. In this blog post, we will take a look at some brands that began by making workwear but are now widely known as fashion and lifestyle brands.
Levi's is one of the world's most well-known denim brands. Levi’s was founded in 1853, and its original product was denim fabric, which was used for workwear. Levi Strauss developed the first Levi's jeans in 1873, originally intended for laborers such as miners and farmers. The popularity of the pants grew gradually due to their excellent features, and by the 1950s, their popularity had exploded among young people as one of the most fashionable garments.
Carhartt is one of the most well-known brands that originally designed workwear. The brand was founded in 1889 and manufactured workwear for railroad workers, but later expanded to produce clothing for all industries. Today, Carhartt is one of the most popular brands, and its consumer products still reflect its workwear roots.
Dickies is a brand known for its durable workwear. The brand was founded in 1922 and originally manufactured workwear for ranch workers. Since then, the brand has gained popularity, especially among skateboarders and in the hip hop culture.
Timberland is a shoe brand that originally produced durable work shoes. However, in the 1990s, the brand became popular in the hip hop culture, and nowadays, the brand is widely known for its yellow work boots. Another famous work shoe that became a well-known fashion brand is Dr. Martens, which was first adopted by working-class youth in Britain in the 1960s and later by punks in the 1970s.
These are just a few examples of workwear brands that have gained recognition in the fashion world. It should be noted that many other well-known brands were originally geared towards workers but later grew into fashion brands. What unites all of these brands is that none of them were originally aiming for the fashion world; rather, various subcultures adopted them for their style, usually due to their functionality, and later the brands rose to worldwide consciousness. Many of these brands still make what they started with: workwear, although they are now better known as fashion brands. Let the cobbler stick to his last, and so we at Touchpoint promise to continue making workwear in the future. But who knows, maybe in 50 years some subculture might adopt, let’s say, Touchpoint's pants as their own, and from there a new path in consumer fashion would emerge by chance. ;)