My frame of reference for Duluth Trading Co. was snarky, retro styled ads for long t-shirts to “cure to plumber’s butt.” I was amused by the attitude, but, frankly, not motivated to investigate the merchandise. But at the cajoling of a very non-plumberish female publicist, I took a look at the fall catalog for the Belleville, Wis.-based company—yep, fun fact: Duluth Trading is no longer based in Duluth. Like many working man brands—think Red Wing Shoes, Carhartt—Duluth Trading is prospering from the durable goods, made-in-the-USA movement, and our never-ending love of flannel. Now, Duluth Trading is refining its look and product, beyond what the self-deprecating ads might suggest.
Even if you aren’t in the market for indestructible work pants made of fire hose fabric (I’d like some for my kids, actually), check out the bags. I like Duluth Trading’s AWOL bag, an old-school weekender inspired by old-style military bags. Rugged leather with antique brass hardware, it opens like a doctor’s kit and is nicely priced at $249.50.
Meanwhile, if you are one of those guys who lives in Duluth Trading’s work pants, share your story. Today is the final day to enter the Last Pants Standing contest for a chance to win a $500 gift card and appear on the cover of a Duluth Trading catalog.
What’s next? Duluth Trading opened its first retail store in Wisconsin just two years ago, and this year, the first retail outlet followed. Stores in Minnesota may be on the horizon.