One of the most welcome developments in the fashion world in the last decade has been the rediscovery of blue-collar American clothing brands. Take Dickies, the legendary Texas workwear brand founded in Bryan in 1922 and now headquartered in Fort Worth. Long considered the uniform for rough outdoor work, the brand—like its counterparts Carhartt, Filson and L.C. King—has experienced something of a renaissance as millennials develop a fresh appreciation for quality construction and American heritage.
"Rejecting the flashy aesthetics and marginal quality of fast-fashion chains, a new generation of young, discriminating, typically city-dwelling consumers has developed a taste for the sturdy, utilitarian style of workwear from decades past. That many of these brands are still made in their original American factories is an added draw," says Robert Klara in AdWeek.
So it should come as no surprise that Dickies has found a fruitful partnership in Houston with men's clothing concept Reserve Supply Company. Starting in 2014, Reserve has been collaborating with Dickies 1922—the brand's Heritage line, still made at the company's oldest factory in Uvalde—on a pair of exclusive Dickies 1922 x Reserve Supply Company duck pants ($120), which became a hit with their customers for their refined details and a lightweight construction that made them perfect for the Houston summer (or really any time in Houston).
"We started with pants—we were looking for alternative to jeans, which are our bread and butter here. We made a name selling premium men's denim, and we wanted pants that fit like jeans, were rugged and durable like jeans but lighter weight and more comfortable to wear in Houston," says Reserve co-owner Jason Bruen.
The second Dickies collaboration debuted in 2016: a short-sleeve button-up shirt with ring snaps ($110) available in black and blue chambray. After selling through the two options in 2016, Reserve brought them back this spring and added a black and white hickory stripe shirt. Bruen and the Dickies team designed the cut to be universal, neither overly slim nor boxy, and like the pants, the shirts have a classic feel with a couple extra design-oriented details, like the snap-down collar.
"Dickies has so much to offer with their experience, from a production standpoint. It makes a great project," says Bruen, who says customers have embraced the collaboration. "They're like, 'Wow I didn't know Dickies made things like this.' They're just familiar with typical Dickies chino workwear ... when they see the level of construction and quality that goes into these shirts and pants, they're amazed that Dickies make this type of clothing."