Carhartt is a brand who has always remained true to its roots.
Hamilton Carhartt founded the Detroit-based brand in 1889. With little more than two sewing machines and a half-horsepower electric motor in a tiny loft, Ham created the very first prototype for the Carhartt Bib Overalls.
And this was just the start for the brand. Decade after decade, the Carhartt company rapidly expanded with mills popping up all over the globe to help keep up with the demand for their apparel.
They even dedicated several of their factories to the government during the first World War I to aid in the production of military uniforms, and throughout World War II, they kitted out all aspects of the US military, as well as the burgeoning labour force in the factories back home.
Moving onto the ’70s and ’80s now, this era saw the brand transcend its original workwear purpose with people outside the usual trades now turning their attention towards Carhartt clothing. As artists in the US hip-hop scene started to don Carhartt, it raised its popularity across the pond. But it wasn’t until the early ’90s that they began to revise classic American workwear for the European streetwear scene.
Edwin Faeh founded Carhartt’s ‘Work in Progress’ label in 1994, becoming the exclusive distributor of Carhartt throughout Europe. Before then, Carhartt’s workwear products had been quite hard to source outside of the US.
Work In Progress – or WIP, as it’s often shortened – started its life introducing classic products from the original workwear range to the European and Asian markets who valued the little details that honoured Carhartt’s DNA. Dedicated design, marketing and production teams were placed in charge of adapting the original workwear style for a new urban audience.
But Carhartt WIP is not just about products, no, the brand also embodies art, music, skateboarding, underground sub-cultures and the urban sports scene – it’s about passion.
Right up until this day, Carhartt WIP continues to forge partnerships with contemporary brands and talents, while respecting its rich heritage and values.