Caterpillar, the world’s largest construction equipment-maker, is pushing further into work-inspired streetwear.
The company has annual sales of $53 billion and a history that dates to 1904. And while it may be best known for its backhoes and bulldozers, it also has a large international apparel and footwear business that spans a variety of categories, from workwear to streetwear.
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Since 2006, that apparel business has been handled by Bozeman, Mont.-based Summit Resource International, which holds the global license for Caterpillar men’s and women’s apparel and accessories and retail operations. Summit was founded in 1991 as a private label manufacturer and is operated today by Sean Gallinger, president, whose prior business background included Triad Sportswear. Centric is the distributor of the brand and works with Summit on the creation of the line.
Cat Workwear, which sells durable work pants, insulated vests and parkas, hoodies, T-shirts and caps, is a natural brand extension. But in 2019, right before the pandemic, the company expanded into more fashion apparel under the WWR moniker — Workwear Redefined. Marketed as a mix of “original American workwear” and the “most updated fashion trends,” WWR launched in Europe and made its debut in the U.S. at the end of last year.
It is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue as well as on its own e-commerce site and will be added at Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and specialty stores for spring. The goal, Gallinger said, is to expand its specialty distribution and it will be shown at the upcoming Project show in Las Vegas later this month.
Cat’s move into the fashion arena was not surprising. The handwriting was on the wall as early as 2019 when the brand partnered with John Elliott followed by last year’s collaboration with buzzy designer Heron Preston to create