From Mill To Millions: A Look at the History of Carhartt
Heritage Feature : Carhartt
06 Oct 2011
Joe Warner takes a closer look into the history of Carhartt
Rumor has it that the great Hamilton Carhartt added the extra 't' to his surname as a means of standing out from the rest of his competitors. If this is indeed true, it says a lot about the man's creative business style - always willing to go that extra length for success. Conceived in Detroit, Michigan in 1889, Carhartt has been consistently pushing the boundaries of workwear apparel, creating timeless silhouettes that are still widely celebrated today. Always a forward thinker, Hamilton Carhartt instantly recognised that the quality of his product would be key to his success, and for over 120 years now Carhartt have been producing garments that are first class in both rugged construction and innovative design with exceptional standards of quality, durability and comfort.
It's no overstatement to award Carhartt a prominent place in contemporary American history. Using almost exclusively high quality denim, duck canvas and later the Carhartt master cloth (their very own long-fibre cotton weave), the brand crafted utilitarian clothing for millions of America's workmen. Throughout it's illustrious history the company fought through and survived both the cotton depression of the 1920s and the financial crisis of the 1930s, supplied uniforms for American soldiers during both World Wars, as well as playing a pivotal part in it's alignment with the trade union supporting organised labour and fair working conditions.
The 90's saw an interesting turn for the brand as their utilitarian apparel was embraced by the underground hip-hop community, starting with the kids on the street and very soon world famous rap acts including Public Enemy, De La Soul and the Beastie Boys. Soon enough Carhartt was to become a streetwear staple world over, offering the same outstanding quality and design from their humble beginnings in 1889. Fast forward to 2011 and Carhartt is still as strong as ever, due in part to the fantastic efforts of Carhartt's European division 'Work in Progress' and high-profile collaborations with the likes of A Bathing Ape, A.P.C and most recently NY-based designer Adam Kimmel.
We here at GoodHood are very proud to be stocking select pieces from the new Carhartt Heritage range, a collection that looks to the vast archive of Carhartt's history for inspiration, updating and re-appropriating classic pieces for a contemporary audience. To celebrate it's arrival we held an exhibition showing some amazing archival pieces from Carhartt's expansive history.