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Workman -- not Walkman -- makes quiet boom in Japanese apparel

Blue-collar clothing vendor wins female fans of outdoor wear and athleisure

Workman has tried to broaden its appeal beyond construction and factory workers. (Photo courtesy of the company)

TOKYO -- The name Workman may not evoke images of ladies' fashion, but in 10 years the Japanese vendor of job site gear has grown its profit sixfold in part by appealing to women.

The chain store operator's bread and butter has long been the kind of protective suits ubiquitous at construction sites and factories in Japan. Even the prime minister dons such work wear when visiting disaster areas, for example.

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