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Founded in 1922, the Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company is the brainchild of E.E. “Colonel” Dickie and C.N. Williamson. They’re one of the biggest manufacturers of workwear products today. And for all the connotations the term “blue collar” has, what’s evident is that the trousers worn underneath the shirt are just as important.

In many ways, Dickies are the anti-khaki. Not just because they’re more durable, but because they’re also super comfortable. That poly-cotton fabric blend gives the pants an unmistakable look and feel. By the 1980s, Dickies had become a style staple for Southern California youth, blending into nascent subcultures like skateboarding and hip-hop.

On this episode of Why It’s Cool, host Jian DeLeon delves into how the hard-wearing trousers gained a second life in many subcultures. He speaks with Ann Richardson, resident historian of Dickies, about the origins of everything from the Dickies logo to the first work trousers. He also gets some time with Brian Sheedy, Dickies’ Vice President of Design, on why the brand will never describe itself as a “fashion” label.

Then, to get some insight on how Dickies became a subcultural style statement, he checks in with Chris Gibbs, current owner of Los Angeles and Tokyo boutique UNION. Gibbs has been wearing Dickies for most of his life, and currently serves as the creative director of Dickies Construct, one of the label’s more street-oriented, youth-focuses offerings.

Listen to the full episode above and stay tuned for a new episode of Why It’s Cool next week.

In case you missed it, the second episode of ‘Why It’s Cool’ on the fashion world’s obsession with Crocs

  • Director of Editorial Video and Production, North America: J. Andrew Keegan
  • Editorial Director/Host: Jian DeLeon
  • Producer/Editor: Sonia Manalili
  • Guests: Ann Richardson, Chris Gibbs, Brian Sheedy, Max Berlinger
Words by Jian DeLeon
Editorial Director

Jian DeLeon is the Editorial Director at Highsnobiety. He is based in New York.

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