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Last weekend I had a long conversation with an acquaintance of mine. A lady* who has been selling functional workwear for the past 16 years. Think of clothing worn by contractors, carpenters, and construction workers. In our hour-long chat, I learned so much I could fill four articles. There are so many changes happening in this industry. Today I will start with an article about how work shoes and trends are merging.
Past and Present
When we think of work shoes, large, bulky, and to be honest unattractive-looking shoes spring to mind. But during our chat, I learned that these are on the way out. Coarse shoes are still available on the market, but sales are declining. Today’s work shoes are more elegant, more colorful and the designs are on-trend.
Say what? Trends?
Yes, people who wear practical shoes for work also want to look modern and fun. This is in part because fashion brands have started to produce workwear. These big brands are always on trend and are constantly releasing new collections. This has forced the workwear companies to do the same. In the past, it was common to sell the same style of shoe for ten years running, but now the designs are changing every two to three years.
In the world of business clothes, casual shoes are becoming increasingly popular. In the workwear world, this is the other way around, and in this male-dominated sector, more gentlemen are choosing a combination of functionality and style. Especially amongst contractors, you see this more in recent years. They want to have a pair of good sturdy shoes on the construction site, which also look respectable when meeting with a client at the office.
Sneakers are also getting more popular, this trend has been on the rise for some time now. And you notice even more eye-catching colors. Again this has to do with fashion brands making streetwear the new normal.
Ok, so workwear and trends are merging. However, in this world, things do not move as fast as in the world of regular fashion. The lead time from the idea to the shoe being available on the shelves can be as long as two to three years. But pressure from fashion brands will force more workwear companies to adopt faster methods enabling new models to be brought to market quicker. The market will continue to grow, not least because the number of self-employed people is increasing. And for this group, it is important to distinguish yourself and look presentable.
In the past, people wore whatever the boss came up with, but the new generation of self-employed people put some thought into their work shoes. They want to look good, as of course, their appearance is their business card.
So there you have it: behind the scenes, the tough construction worker wants to look dapper when going about his business.
*The lady mentioned in this article wants to remain anonymous – Links are aff.