Appreciated by the working class and the sophomore class, Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing makes Dickies-brand khaki pants, bib overalls, jeans, women's and children's apparel, and Workrite safety uniforms. It also makes apparel and footwear for work and outdoor use under the Kodiak and Terra names. Its work clothes, originally tailored for the blue-collar set, are in fashion with young people, who account for a growing portion of sales. Its products are sold worldwide by major retailers (such as Academyand Wal-Mart), directly to businesses, in its own Work Authority stores, and online. The company was founded in 1922 by C.N. Williamson and E.E. Dickie as U.S. Bib Overall. It is owned by the Williamson family.
Dickies goes to work to get its name out. Through partnerships with other companies, the workwear company peddles a variety of lines, such as bags, belts, socks, headwear, junior girls' clothing, footwear, and kidswear.
In recent years Dickies has concentrated on expanding its products portfolio through licensing agreements. In 2010 the company inked a couple agreements that have further developed its accessories and footwear businesses. Looking to attract customers in a growing niche of the apparel market, Dickies enlisted the help of Strategic Partners to design, produce, and distribute Dickies-branded apparel and footwear specific to the medical industry. A deal with Magla Products, which specializes in hand-safety gear and related cleaning items, allows Dickies to sell work gloves and compete head-to-head with über gloves maker Wells Lamont.
Dickies is also letting some exclusive licensing deals expire as a way to control costs. The company gained control over the manufacture and distribution of its namesake footwear in 2011 when it let its exclusive license with Rocky Brands, inked in 2005, expire at the end of 2010. As a result, Dickies brought its footwear business in-house, with production, marketing, and distribution of its shoes in the US now under the guise of Kodiak Group Holdings, a Canadian company Dickies purchased in 2008 that makes apparel and footwear. In 2009 Dickies also ended its 29-year relationship with International Legwear Group, which made licensed legwear products.
The company continues to capitalize on its working-class heritage, albeit for a niche audience. In 2010 it relaunched the Dickies 1922 collection, which was first issued in 1936 and features uniform shirts and uniform pants from the company's archives. Available through select retailers at high-end prices, the pieces are produced from one of Dickies' oldest factories in Uvalde, Texas.
Dickies workwear is sold in all 50 states and worldwide in more than 60 countries, including Australia, Russia, Chile, Japan, Iceland, Canada, South Africa, and Mexico. The brand first gained international attention in the late 1950s, when Texas oilmen brought Dickies workwear to oil fields in the Middle East. – less