The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Trickle-up effect moves workwear up the fashion pyramid

Carlmont+students+wearing+Carhartt+socialize+in+the+ASB+room+during+lunch.+In+recent+years%2C+workwear+brands+like+Carhartt+and+Dickies+have+resurfaced+and+have+become+a+staple+in+some+students+wardrobes.+
Maya Godina
Carlmont students wearing Carhartt socialize in the ASB room during lunch. In recent years, workwear brands like Carhartt and Dickies have resurfaced and have become a staple in some students’ wardrobes.

Workwear brands have seen a surge in popularity within the fashion world in recent years due to the influence of social media and pop culture.

Brands like Dickies and Carhartt have been popularized in recent years by celebrities like Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and A$AP Rocky.

“When people see celebrities on social media wearing Dickies and Carhartt the brands become more popular as people try to emulate these celebrities,” Carlmont sophomore Peter Harrison said.

The gradual shift and broadening of Dickies’ and Carhartt’s consumers, from predominantly blue-collar workers to the average consumer, is known as the trickle-up effect. According to Investopedia, the trickle-up effect is when fashion trends that start within lower-income communities move up the social classes.

Carhartt, a company initially founded in Michigan in 1889, began as a producer of bib overalls for manual workers. During the 1980s and 1990s, Carhartt gained new consumers who learned of the brand from hip-hop artists from the group N.W.A., as well as artists like Tupac and Dr. Dre

Dickies, a Texas company founded in 1922, had a similar start to Carhartt as they also began by producing and selling bib overalls. 

In 1986, the brand entered the fashion and pop culture world after prevalent rappers began wearing the company’s clothing. By the 1990s Dickies consumers broadened as the company entered the 1990s skater subculture.

Although at first consumers were primarily influenced by seeing pictures of celebrities’ styles, such publicity has been made more accessible by means of social media.

Irwin Dillon, a Carlmont custodian, wears workwear brands like Dickies and Carhartt regularly for his job, yet notices its popularity in fashion culture as well.

“Nowadays, people see workwear on social media apps like TikTok and say ‘Okay, I want to buy it too,’” Dillon said. 

After its first boom in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, workwear in fashion temporarily died down.  Rick Beaman, a salesperson at the Redwood Trading Post, says that workwear is growing in popularity again. 

“I think wearing workwear has (resurged in popularity) in the last ten years,” Beaman said. 

Not only has workwear traveled up social classes, but it has also broken gender norms over time.

Originally, workwear was made for men. However, as workwear brands expanded, Dickies, Carhartt, and other brands began designing workwear made specifically for women. As a result, workwear has become a part of women’s fashion, especially Carhartt overalls. 

While workwear was initially designed for blue-collar workers, it is now seen as “trendy” and “fashionable.”

“Today, workwear brands are catering towards workers as well as teenagers as both Urban Outfitters and PacSun sell Dickies,” Harrison said.

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About the Contributor
Maya Godina, Staff Writer
Maya Godina is a sophomore at Carlmont High School (Class of 2026). She hopes to share new ideas and publicize local businesses within the community. She is part of the publicity commission in Carlmont's ASB and loves contributing to the Carlmont community. She also plays on the JV girl's water polo team. She enjoys listening to music, hanging out with friends, and coloring to destress.

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