Is Dickies Fast Fashion

Is Dickies Fast Fashion? Sustainability and Ethical Practices

by jacky chou
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People often look for trousers, shirts, printed jackets, work boots, or overalls with blank slates and clean lines to complement their personal style while at work or outdoors. If you are such a person, you've probably encountered the brand Dickies, a brand like Carhartt known for high-quality workwear. With its absolute workwear roots, Dickies clothing has gained popularity among mechanics, college students, hip-hop artists, skateboarders, and international fashionistas because of its comfort, performance, and durability.

However, fast fashion has overtaken the fashion industry, and with big brands like Forever 21 and Adidas leading in the fast-fashion world, you might have wondered, is Dickies fast fashion?

Dickies is not a fast fashion brand. It is owned by VF Corporation, a clothing company committed to mitigating the effects of fast fashion. The company implements a circular business model, meaning all its clothes are kept in use, slowing down the fast fashion trend.

What is Dickies?

Dickies is an American leading performance workwear brand founded in 1922 by C.N. Williamson and E.E. Dickie. It's headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, and it started out as an overall company making bib and brace overall. It gained fame during World War II when it began manufacturing military uniforms.

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After that, Dickies expanded its geographical reach by opening warehouses and production facilities throughout the United States. It has since become an international company creating workwear and apparel, including skate clothing, streetwear, safety clothing, and accessories for men, women, and kids. Moreover, the brand has surpassed its workwear roots to become a cult favorite of menswear enthusiasts.

In 2017, VF Corporation acquired Williamson-Dickie Mfg. VF Corporation owns over 30 outdoor, workwear, and activity-based lifestyle brands, including The North Face, JanSport, Timberland, Vans, Eastpak, and Eagle Creek.

Dickies brand specializes in overalls, shirts, pants, and jackets for relaxing or working. It also creates quality denim jeans, work uniforms, outerwear, and accessories. The fashion brand is committed to improving its performance and responsibility in the supply chain. Together with VF Corporation and other company siblings, it innovates to build communities and have a lower environmental impact.

Is Dickies Fast Fashion?

Although there is not much information about Dickies operations, it can be deduced that it is not a fast-fashion brand. Why?

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Dickies is part of VF Corporation, one of the world's largest clothing companies. VF Corporation shifted its business strategy, and all its brands, including Dickies are implementing circular business models. This means all their clothing is kept in use. This helps in slowing down or reversing the trend of fast fashion.

Moreover, the company has joined the world of re-commerce (rental and resale) to limit resource use and reduce waste significantly. VF Corporation recognizes the effects of fast fashion and how clothes wind up in landfills. Therefore, it has also taken many measures to help solve the climate change problem and reduce its environmental impact.

Furthermore, VF Corporation publishes a significantly elaborate sustainability report covering all its brands. This indicates that this company is receptive to change and is trying to improve.

Dickies Sustainability Practices

Dickies uses a small proportion of sustainable materials, such as regenerated nylon and recycled polyester. Most of its materials are highly polluting, synthetic, petroleum-based fibers like nylon, polyester, spandex, polyethylene, acrylic, polypropylene, and polyurethane. This workwear brand also makes some garments with regenerated cellulosic fabrics or semi-synthetic fibers such as viscose and lyocell.

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As part of VF Corporation, Dickies uses the same supply chain as its parent company. It publishes its manufacturing and processing facilities, making it available publicly on its corporate website. It also monitors its supply chain and main production sites to ensure labor and social standards compliance.

Moreover, the company is expanding its transparency and traceability efforts and collaborating with governments, human rights experts, international organizations, and non-profit organizations to conduct continuous human rights due diligence. The Fashion Transparency Index 2023 gave VF Corporation a 66% score based on how much the group discloses about its environmental and social practices, policies, and impacts. VF Corporation earned 7th position in the top 10 most transparent brands.

Furthermore, Dickies doesn't use exotic animal skin, fur, hair, or angora. But it uses uncertified leather and wool to manufacture many of its garments. These animal-derived products aren't ethically sourced. This fashion brand also harms the environment by emitting greenhouse gases and waste. Its outdoor apparel is also not PFC-free.

Dickies Sustainability Goals

Dickies, along with VF Corporation, has taken several steps to improve itself. The fashion brand has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conforming with meeting the Paris Agreement goals. It partners with Carbon Trust, a global consultancy, to gather data from its suppliers and targets an absolute decrease of Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030.

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Similarly, this fashion brand plans to reduce Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 by focusing on farm-to-front door materials, logistics, and sourcing operations. The brand has also launched a Scale for a Good program to deal with climate change. It also aims to halve its upstream environmental impact by 2050.

Additionally, Dickies wants to source a hundred percent more sustainable cotton and reduce by at least 50% its use of nylon and polyester. It will do this by recycling. While the brand uses a small portion of sustainable materials such as nylon and recycled polyester, it aims to source 100% organic and sustainable cotton. 

Moreover, Dickies, together with VF Corporation, is committed to leading in the large-scale commercialization of circular model businesses. It aims to contribute to local communities and empower consumers to live sustainably. This will help reverse the damage caused by fast fashion brands.

Is Dickies Ethical?

Dickies clothing maintains fair and ethical practices. They have a code of conduct and corporate environmental guidelines which provides accountability and direction for optimizing environmental compliance, product safety, and employment practices. These environmental and national laws include all laws related to air emissions, waste and wastewater disposal, discharges, toxic substances, and hazardous waste disposal.

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They expect their suppliers to implement measures for reducing water and air pollutants and have conservation and recycling programs, including water, energy, and raw material usage. Furthermore, Dickies use suppliers who comply with child labor and forced labor laws and endeavor to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

However, this company manufactures its products in Bangladesh, China, and Vietnam. These countries are known for their poor labor conditions and not meeting the living wage requirement. And because these countries have no strict environmental regulations, many fashion brands get away with mass-producing clothes without dealing with legal complications. Hence, such countries are a hub for fast fashion brands as they keep production costs low and profits high. 

Therefore, many customers doubt Dickies fast fashion status due to its manufacturing countries. However, VF Corporation's detailed report affirms that the brand takes time to make the products. It also claims that the company gives much time and effort to help bring change and improve itself. 

Finally, Dickies still uses uncertified leather and wool to manufacture some of its clothing. These are animal-derived materials that are not ethically sourced, and by using such materials, Dickies can't be considered a cruelty-free brand either. Such brands are deemed unethical.

The Bottom Line

From our brand check, we realize Dickies, a part of VF Corporation, has taken several measures to help the environment and dwarf the fast fashion trend. However, despite some advancements in animal welfare, environmental policies, and workers’ rights, Dickies still have a long way to go to achieve a higher ranking. So don’t hesitate to get those high-quality and comfortable Dickies pants because while the company isn’t perfect, it should be supported because it is trying to do the right thing.

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jacky chou


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