How a Trio of Brands Distinguish Themselves by Niches in the Trade.
With climate change happening, women occupying more industry jobs and individuals seeking out clothing and footwear that is more comfortable to wear, brands are hustling to accommodate today’s market trends. To find out what’s working in workwear, we talked with three brands getting the job done.
Truewerk: Performance-Inspired, Customizable Apparel
Truewerk’s founder Brian Ciciora got his start building homes in the mountains of Colorado. He was tired of his cotton and canvas work pants soaking through in the cold, wintry elements. As an avid skier, he recognized the benefits of wearing the stretchy, element-proof gear. So why not bring similar textiles into workwear? Just as athletes perform, “the trade professionals that quite literally build our communities, perform physically demanding tasks every day,” explained Luedke.
Trade professionals have evolved to be much more than workers — they own small businesses, they are artists, they have family obligations after work. So Truewerk created a Workwear System to accommodate. “An integrated system of layers is designed to work in tandem for ultimate comfort, stretch, and protection from the elements,” the exec noted, with base layers that wick sweat, mid layers that insulate, and shells that protect. The System “also allows you to feel professional, confident, and capable whether meeting with a client, hitting the hiking trails or at your daughter’s dance recital,” Luedke added.
The Garment: For Spring ’23, Truewerk released its first hot weather overall, the T1, in men’s and women’s fits. They are crafted in a lightweight softshell material with four-way stretch, regulate temperature, and resist tears and abrasions. The double-woven, nylon/polyester/spandex material is breathable and has a wicking finish on the interior. They have an easy fit waist and zippered chest pockets for storing essentials.
Cordura Advanced Fabrics: Collaborating to Deliver Durability
Launched by E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) in 1929 and now owned by Invista, Cordura is a heritage brand that has modernized by becoming a primary ingredient in high-performance gear and apparel including footwear, backpacks, military/tactical wear and workwear. Durability and abrasion-resistance make the heritage brand stand out.
“We are seeing a range of interest from traditional workwear such as uniforms, to less traditional pieces such as women’s workwear,” said Cindy McNaull, brand business development director for Invista. While durability is a common denominator, a younger generation of workers is more dialed into style, function, fit and comfort through stretch and lightweight materials. “Workwear is utilitarian and protective, much like a tool — it just happens to be one that you wear, and one you wear in everyday life now,” commented the exec. Artistic Milliners’ Artmill division. Cordura Advanced Fabrics has a soon to debut capsule collection by Artistic Milliner’s Artmill division dedicated to working, commuting, hiking and adventure traveling.
As workwear and outdoor clothing converge, McNaull sees the lines between the segments continue to blur.
The Partnerships: Pairing with military and tactical fabric supplier HLC Industries, Cordura Advanced Fabrics debuted a new nylon 6,6 navy blue solution dyed Cordura TrueLock fabric in January 2023 that provides superior lot-to-lot color consistency. Mainly used for military, tactical and law enforcement markets; the fabric is engineered with high-tenacity nylon 6,6 multi-filament fiber that locks in the color at the molten polymer extrusion level. The result is durable color throughout the fiber structure for excellent color fastness, abrasion resistance and protection from UV fade. Pairing with 1620 Workwear, the brand’s best-selling Single and Double Knee Utility Pants are crafted with Cordura NYCO fabric, offering the traditional feel of old school canvas with enhanced durability. The 2.0 versions of the water-repellent, tear resistant pants, both updated for Fall ‘22, feature three additional storage pockets, an ergonomically body mapped double knee reinforcement, dual hammer loops and heavier thread. 1620 Workwear is 100 percent American-made, from the materials used, to where product is designed, cut and sewn.
Juno Jones: Fashionable Safety Footwear for Females
It wasn’t that long ago that it was acceptable for a company to tell a woman to wear the smallest men’s size boot or a giant “unisex” safety vest. “But today, workers are more empowered to demand safety gear that is made for their bodies, and companies realize that if they want to attract and retain diverse talent, they need to provide these options,” noted Juno Jones founder Emily Soloby. “Proper fitting PPE, including safety boots, not only reduces injuries, but contributes to a person’s sense of legitimacy in the workplace,” added the exec.
In footwear, workers are looking for a better fitting safety boot that also meets their style needs. Rather than shrinking down a men’s footwear last (mold), Juno Jones boots are created using specially developed women’s lasts, and featuring design elements like more elegantly shaped steel and composite toes. Juno Jones is a safety boot company first, but adds pops of fashion based on classic designs.
The Shoe: The Serpentine goes from the office to the job site, and then out for evening activities. The boot has a steel toe, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F2413-18 certified for impact and compression for workplace safety; is Electrical Hazard (EH) certified; has an ASTM certified puncture resistant midsole; and water-resistant construction. A YKK vintage brass side zipper makes for easy on and off.