The Picture of Hard Work
The workwear market, on the other hand, is not one to relinquish long-standing traditions. Haws said fashion colors and cuts are largely non-existent in this arena. “[Carhartt] workwear is standardized with a really high-quality, 100 percent cotton—what they call duck—outer material,” he explained. “Throughout the generations, it has not changed, and it’s probably not going to change. It’s not an issue of fashion. It’s a product, a look and a feel that is standardized in the working community. It supersedes fashion.” However, there may be some change on the horizon, even for apparel that screams brawn. Haws admitted Carhartt, which solely caters to male workers, is currently testing a women’s line.
An important trend taking place in workwear, according to Haws, is the required inclusion of flame-resistant properties. “OSHA is pushing now some new regulations, and it’s requiring companies to outfit those who are working in hazardous conditions,” he said. “We have seen a surge in sales here as [people] are starting to ask for it,” he said.
A recent addition to Haws’ workwear line is Walls, a line of clothing similar to domestically made Carhartt, but at a lower price point. “Walls is made overseas so it’s cheaper, but the quality is still very good,” he explained. Under the Walls name, distributors have access to ranch/western wear—an apparel area Haws said is not represented well in the industry—as well as insulated clothing to outfit end-users who work in refrigerated environments.
FeatherLite’s offering consists of its Business Ready line of apparel for both men and women. “The line [is made up] of color-coordinating apparel, including aprons and silk ties treated with DuPont Teflon fabric protector, creating an invisible shield against spills and stains,” explained Garza, who added the line is ideal for “restaurant employees and executives needing coordinating shirt and tie combinations.”