The Surprising Origins of Carhartt: From Workwear to Fashion

Do you own a piece of Carhartt clothing? Have you ever wondered where the brand originated from? Turns out, the origins of Carhartt are a bit surprising and not what you would expect. The brand has been around for well over a century, and many people know Carhartt as a brand that produce high-quality workwear, but its beginnings are far more interesting than just that. And throughout the decades, Carhartt has become a cultural icon, influencing trends, and leaving its mark on the fashion industry.

In this blog post, we'll dive into the history of the American brand and explore how vintage Carhartt clothing has become very popular amongst fashion enthusiasts. From its humble beginnings to the iconic fashion brand it is today, we will take a journey through time to understand what makes Carhartt, Carhartt.

Vintage Carhartt Trousers

The History of Carhartt

In the year 1889, Hamilton Carhartt founded the Hamilton Carhartt & Company with one sewing machine and five employees in Detroit, Michigan. He had a single goal in mind: to create clothing that could handle the demands of rugged outdoor work. The company distributed workwear to railroad workers, factory workers, and other manual labourers. The brand motto was “Honest value for an honest dollar,” and Carhartt lived up to that promise. Carhartt's first product was a pair of overalls made with heavy-duty duck fabric, and the rest is history.

Carhartt quickly earned a reputation for producing high-quality, durable workwear, and they became the go-to brand for American manual workers. By the turn of the century, Carhartt was producing over 200,000 pairs of overalls each year. The company grew steadily through the years, expanding its product line to include a variety of apparel designed for outdoor work of all kinds. They also introduced women’s and children’s clothing, but the core workwear that the brand is known for continues to be their bestseller.

But it wasn’t until the 1970s that the Carhartt brand began to gain national attention. During the 80s and 90s, big names in the hip-hop music industry started to wear their clothing, making them a must-have streetwear brand for rappers and cool kids in New York City.

Vintage Carhartt Clothing

Thanks to the brand’s timeless design and unmatched durability, vintage Carhartt clothing continues to be both functional and on trend, inspiring fashion designers all over the world to incorporate the brand’s iconic style into their own collections. Vintage Carhartt clothing dating back to the 1980s and 1990s is hugely popular amongst collectors and fashion enthusiasts. The workwear trend is making a huge comeback, and Carhartt's timeless designs and reputation for durability make it the perfect brand to embrace this growing trend.

vintage Carhartt shirt

Another reason for the resurgence of vintage Carhartt clothing is the brand's commitment to sustainability. As consumers become more conscious of the environmental impact of fast fashion, vintage clothing has become a popular choice for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint. By buying vintage Carhartt pieces, shoppers are supporting a brand that has been around for over a century and has a reputation for quality and durability.

What Sets Vintage Carhartt Clothing Apart?

For one, the quality of the materials. Carhartt's classic duck canvas is known for being incredibly durable and long-lasting, and vintage pieces often have a worn-in look that adds to their charm. Another hallmark of Carhartt products is their distinctive style, with their trademark brown duck fabric and panelled construction. This design not only makes the clothes look fashionable, but also helps to preserve them for much longer, as the multiple pieces make for stronger seams that can resist tearing and fraying. Additionally, vintage Carhartt clothing is often cut in a looser, more oversized fit than their current designs, making them perfect for layering and creating a unique look.

Why so Many People Love Pre-Loved Carhartt Clothing

In a world driven by fast fashion and disposable clothing, the Carhartt brand stands as a beacon of quality, durability, and timeless style. From its humble beginnings in a small Michigan town, Carhartt has grown to become a global icon of workwear, serving generations of manual workers along the way. Carhartt still produces the toughest, most durable workwear on the market, just as it did over a century ago. Today, Carhartt clothing continues to inspire and captivate people all over the world, a testament to the enduring power of hard work and quality craftsmanship.

So, the next time you see someone wearing a vintage Carhartt jacket, know that they're not just making a fashion statement, they're also paying homage to a brand with a rich history and a commitment to quality. Discover our  hand-picked selection of vintage Carhartt clothing here at Vintage Folk, and add some pre-loved workwear to your everyday wardrobe.