Fans of modern technical footwear upstart Brunt Workwear can now round out their wardrobes with durable duds made to stand up against wear and tear.
On Thursday, the five-month-old brand founded by M. Gemi alums Eric Girouard and David Chernow will officially expand its functional footwear selection to include a hoodie and work pants designed specifically for workers in trade vocations—like construction workers, mechanics, electricians, plumbers, warehouse workers, welders and landscapers—who make up about 14 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the company’s research.
The Coady sweatshirt, which drops March 11 and is currently available for pre-order, features a hard-hat-compatible hood and abrasion-resistant reinforced shoulders and forearms, and is made from a moisture-wicking technical fabric with a durable water repellant (DWR) finish. The oversized belly pocket snaps at each side to ensure that contents don’t fall out, while ribbed wrist cuffs keep the elements away. Available in heather gray or black and in sizes S-XXL, the Coady retails for $89.
Meanwhile, the Martin work pants, which will be released the same day, are also made from an abrasion-resistant, DWR-coated heavyweight fabric, featuring a moisture-wicking inner waistband with reinforced belt loops and knife clips to support extended use. A self-sealing zippered pocket keeps the wearer’s possessions, like a wallet, for example, safe and dry. Reinforced kick plates, which protect the knees, wrap all the way from back to front. The style, which comes in brown, tan and black, is available in sizes 28-42, with three length selections ranging from 30-34, and sells for $89.
These pieces will complement the Boston-based company’s line of boots, which debuted in the fall with four styles ranging from highly technical to protective, yet made for every day wear. All styles are lightweight and waterproof, and come with free laces for life.
“I set out to build a brand that makes the tools my customers wear, and we literally started from the ground up with real work boots—my focus was safety, comfort and durability for any job site,” Girouard, Brunt’s CEO, told Sourcing Journal. He said that the brand has gained cult status in recent months as early adopters “helped spread the word faster than I would have expected.”
Brunt is winning with consumers because of its focus on comfort and quality—as well as its below-market pricing, which Girouard said is made possible by the brand’s direct-to-consumer business model. “The workwear market has been dominated by 100-year-old companies and brands since long before I was born,” he said, adding that they often rely on “antiquated practices” in both crafting their products and bringing them to market.
“The most obvious gap in the market was all of those brands are dependent on retailers to sell their boots and workwear, and even if they sell it on their own website they can’t lower their prices or it will conflict with their retail partners,” he said. Ultimately, that ends up costing the blue-collar worker an extra 40 percent on average in markups, Girouard claimed.
Consumer input drove the brand to branch out into this new category, Girouard said. “Once they got a few pairs of boots from us, they literally asked us what else we could make and helped drive our expansion into apparel,” he added. The step was a “a natural evolution” in Brunt’s journey, he said, as the company aims to continue to create wearable tools for those in trade professions—and has leveraged consumer input in developing their proprietary features.
“For me this isn’t just a business opportunity—it’s personal,” Girouard said, adding that his father and lifelong friends are blue-collar tradesmen who have informed his understanding of the unique challenges of their vocations. “Up until now, they were overpaying with their hardearned money for the boots and apparel that they need to do their jobs.”