How Carhartt Became an American Fashion Icon


Carhartt has been the unofficial uniform for many American workers since 1889.

Carhartt began outfitting railroad workers with coveralls, but as the company expanded its product line to include canvas pants and jackets, everyone from farmers to construction workers began to wear rugged clothing.

But Carhartt isn’t just a dusty legacy brand. Ever since the hip-hop community embraced the workwear style in the late 1980s, Carhartt clothing has become a fashion staple.

In 1989, two Swiss designers, Edwin and Salomee Faeh, entered into a licensing agreement with Carhartt to create a bespoke clothing line called Work in Progress, with slimmer cuts, streetwear aesthetics and higher price points.

The avant-garde line puts the Carhartt brand in front of a whole new clientele: streetwear enthusiasts. While workers were drawn to the functionality of Carhartt’s garments. Hypebeasts were drawn to the authenticity of the brand.

Today, between Carhartt and Work In Progress, it’s almost impossible to walk around a major city from Brooklyn and Los Angles to Tokyo and London without seeing Carhartt’s famous square logo on coats, t-shirts and jackets. . But the Carhartt Watch Cap is by far the most popular product from the original brand Carhartt says it sells around 4 million knit caps a year. In 2019, Carhartt claims to have generated just over $1 billion in revenue.

A wide range of celebrities, from Jamie Foxx and Kanye West to Rihanna, Bella Hadid and Drake, all wear Carhartt clothing.

How did Carhartt become so popular with American workers? Watch the video above to find out how Carhartt became a cultural phenomenon.

To verify: How Yeti built a billion-dollar brand by turning coolers into a status symbol

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