Clothing retailers don’t have it easy. It’s very hard to keep up with what’s in style. And what’s in style now? Fracking! Which means flame-retardant clothing for when shit gets out of hand.
Last year in the United States, sales of flame-retardant clothing rose from $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion. By 2017, sales for protective clothing are expected to reach $2.3 billion. To this end, companies like Carhartt and Cabela’s are sending people out into the field to check out what’s new in the world of flame-retardant clothes. They’re looking to make stuff that’s hard to set on fire, but also, well, cute. Which is to say that although the motivation is safety, workers also want clothing that they can perhaps wear outside of the job site. So manufacturers are looking to make clothing that does the job but is lighter and cooler than the usual flame-retardant clothing.
The reason for this fashion trend? An abundance of fires, not just at fracking sites but at drilling sites and refineries. It’s a hazardous world, and you can’t just wear a T-shirt and jeans to work at a place where there’s stuff that catches on fire. I suppose you could move the country towards a less mortally dangerous fuel source, but I dunno, that sounds hard.
Now, of course, just as America started wearing Levi’s even though they were originally made for gold miners, will we start wearing flame-retardant clothing just for fun? Will we wear it, like, to clubs and stuff? Not only am I betting yes, I am betting that Chris Brown will tweet about his flame-retardant jeans before the end of 2014. Anyone willing to take that bet?