The Carhartt Brand began with Hamilton Carhartt who founded the Carhartt factory in Detroit, Michigan in 1889. Carhartt tailored their clothing to accommodate the large shipbuilding industry as this era predated Ford’s “Motor Town”. They predominately made overalls out of that signature duck fabric that was commonly used for ship sails and tents.
The famed heritage Carhartt has today didn’t come easily. Even as the workforce demanded quality clothing, Carhartt wasn’t always a first choice. After painstaking research and redesign, the brand became very successful based on making quality products made by proud union labor. With such a large focus on taking care of their own employees, they were able to gain respect among the working class. They made overalls and clothing that was tailored to each industry and customized for the right job.
In 1994 Carhartt Work In Progress began in Europe to focus on distribution across the atlantic. This division of WIP was heavily inspired by 80’s hip-hop and urban cultures and popularized the brand as a streetwear icon. As this trend spread to Europe, Carhart WIP managed to design to the European style with slimmer cuts and well tailored clothing that retained the simple straightforward and high durability traits Carhartt was known for.
What separates Carhartt WIP from Carhartt America is their support of active street lifestyles such as skateboarding and other activities with a focus on the diversity and creativity these lifestyles. And now we are excited to launch the Work In Progress division in the US.