Many people know Carhartt as a pure streetwear brand, while others know it as an American company that produces workwear like Swedish 'Blåkläder' or similar. Both options are true, but two different parts. Below is the story of Carhartt Workwear that Hamilton Carhartt once started, which was then taken to Europe and became Carhartt Work In Progress, one of the world's largest streetwear brands.
Hamilton Carhartt is born in Macedon Locks, New York.
With only four sewing machines and five employees, Hamilton Carhartt begins to manufacture overalls in duck and denim, under trade union conditions.
The Carhartt Company expands to include two cotton mills in Georgia and South Carolina as well as factories in Detroit, Dallas and San Francisco.
The Carhartt Automobile Corporation produces around 300 “Pleasure Cars” a year under the motto “The last word in motor construction”.
During WWI, Carhartt produces workman uniforms for the military. With a reported total of 17 factories, the Carhartt clothing company reaches the height of its economic success in the first two decades of the 20th century.
The iconic Carhartt CO1 Chore Coat is advertised for the first time and becomes a key part of the Carhartt collection.
Carhartt opens a new factory in Irvine, Kentucky and launch the “Back to the Land” campaign to offer workers better conditions away from the slums, sweat shops and the general distress of large industrial towns, now filled with thousands of unemployed due to the Great Depression.
Hamilton Carhartt dies in a car crash in Grosse Pointe, Michigan at age 82, leaving the company to his sons Hamilton Jr, and Wylie.
As the USA enters WWII, the entire US economy experiences a boost as factories back the war effort. Soldiers both home and abroad need sturdy, durable apparel.
The spring collection includes a line of classic sports apparel, casual jackets, jeans and shirts, all made of canvas, with product names such as “Huggers pants” and “Surfers”.
Carhartt celebrates its centennial anniversary.
Carhartt Work in Progress
Under the title "All American Concept", Edwin Faeh starts to introduce distinctly American products to the European market.
The ultimate rise of Carhartt's street credibility and street fame is brought about by a group of trendsetters whose names will be forever connected with the early days of hip hop.
Work in Progress (WIP) is established by Edwin Faeh to become the exclusive distributor of Carhartt in Europe.
"La Haine" (The Hatred) by Mathieu Kassovitz becomes one of the first movies to feature the Carhartt brand due to it's rising popularity in underground street culture.
WIP acquires the license to manufacture Carhartt products outside of the USA, subsequently making the 1997 collection the first European "original".
The first store exclusively featuring Carhartt WIP products in Europe opens in Neal Street, London.
Foundation of the Carhartt WIP Skate and BMX Teams.
Evan Hecox kicks off a series of illustrated ad campaigns. His designs of almost ingenious simplicity set the standard for future Carhartt WIP Campaigns.
Carhartt WIP presents the first collection for women.
Combination Records is established by Edwin Faeh, Oliver Drewes, and Philipp Maiburg for Carhartt WIP as an open platform for new electronic music.
The first of nineteen issues of Rugged Magazine is published. Celebrating "the collections of curiosities of all people with a mission... or whatever else we come across".
"Dirt Ollies: A Skateboard Trip to Mongolia" by Alexander Basile, Pontus Alv and Bertrand Trichet is released. Published by Bildschöne Bücher & Carhartt WIP.
Collaborations include: A.P.C., Adam Kimmel, Burton, Master-mind, Fragment Design, Sophnet, Uniform Experiment, Vans, Vestax, AIAIAI, 5Boro, London Undercover and many more.
The Carhartt WIP Heritage line is introduced, comprising of products inspired by the legacy of the Carhartt brand.
Carhartt WIP introduces the "brown duck" embroidery as a nod to its long-standing tradition.
Carhartt WIP opens a store in New York City, thus coming full circle with its American origins.
Carhartt WIP celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The book “The Carhartt WIP Archives” is released. The first extensive look into the Carhartt WIP universe.
The Carhartt WIP evolution continues.
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