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ORIGINS SERIES | 13.05.2020
Ever wondered where our logo came from? Read this to discover how the "Ox Collar" became a cultural symbol, worn by celebrities, skaters & fashion icons.
The Dickies “Horseshoe” logo: we all know and love it. Or at least we think we know it.
Contrary to popular belief, the logo is actually symbolic of an ox collar, not a horseshoe.
But why was an ox collar chosen? We thought it was about time that we explored this common misconception, and asked how the “Ox Collar” logo has become the global cultural symbol that it is today. From celebrities to skaters, musicians to models, and blue collar workers to fashion icons, the logo is represented by countless walks of life.
From humble beginnings
It all started with a couple of guys from Fort Worth Texas. EE “Colonel” Dickie, his cousin CN Williamson and his son C Don Williamson banded together to set up the Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company in 1922. Initially as a bib overalls manufacturer, it was these bibs that paved the way for future successes in the workwear and streetwear worlds. You will notice our products today draw inspiration from our early workwear days and the bib overall still exists as a firm favourite.
CN Williamson & EE “Colonel” Dickie
It wasn’t until 1954 that we adopted the iconic “Ox Collar” logo, still seen on products such as the Horseshoe Tee (yes, we see the irony) and San Antonio Hoody. An ox collar isn’t likely to mean a great deal for those of you with limited livestock experience, however, if we dive deeper it all becomes clear. An ox collar is part of a harness used for pulling a plough or wagon.
Still confused? Well, the ox collar is symbolic of the strength, power and determination of Texas livestock, values that are still embodied by the Dickies brand to this day.
From our humble Texan beginnings, we grew extensively throughout the 20th century. The Texas workers couldn’t get enough of our hardwearing products, enabling us to expand to the whole of America, before going global in the late 1950s.
The turning point
The 1990s were a major turning point for us, as this is when subcultures started adopting the Dickies brand.
Skaters were one of the first: they wanted some tough trousers that would survive the scrapes and tumbles that go hand in hand with skateboarding. Early popularity within skating is thought to have been driven by legends like Julien Stranger and his fellow teammates on AntiHero, as well as by the Zero and Toy Machine teams. 30 years on and not a lot has changed, we’re still making durable trousers and, you guessed it, skaters still love them.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dickies-Life (@dickieslifeofficial) on Dec 11, 2019 at 6:02am PST
A post shared by Dickies-Life (@dickieslifeofficial) on Dec 11, 2019 at 6:02am PST
We also became somewhat of a clothing staple in the 90s hip-hop and rap scene with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Cypress Hill donning a pair of 874s, styled a couple sizes above for that iconic baggy look. The late 1990s and 2000s saw a wave of skate influenced punk bands like Blink-182 and Sum 41 break through into the mainstream. They looked to the skaters of the previous decade for style inspiration. A trend during that time was our Multi Pocket Work Short worn with pulled up white socks.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dickies-Life (@dickieslifeofficial) on Feb 3, 2020 at 8:29am PST
A post shared by Dickies-Life (@dickieslifeofficial) on Feb 3, 2020 at 8:29am PST
Today’s global appeal
We’re still on the same trajectory today! We’ve been endorsed by any number of celebrities and fashion icons like Kendall Jenner, ASAP Rocky, Sophie Turner, Justin Bieber, Kaia Gerber and Kanye West. Who could forget Kanye’s internet breaking Met Gala 2019 outfit that featured Dickies’ iconic Eisenhower Jacket? At the same time, we’ve remained the outfitters of countless different subcultures.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dickies-Life (@dickieslifeofficial) on May 8, 2019 at 5:17am PDT
A post shared by Dickies-Life (@dickieslifeofficial) on May 8, 2019 at 5:17am PDT
Humble beginnings to global cultural icon
How then does a humble workwear brand from Texas become a global cultural icon that’s deeply entrenched in countless, seemingly contrasting, subcultures?
It’s all thanks to unwavering authenticity. While many brands have tried to appropriate trends and cultures, we’ve strived to do the opposite. By staying true to our values, we’ve never tried to be something we aren’t and have concentrated on delivering durable, rugged and functional garments.