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Carhartt workwear – Fashion Leaders?
Carhartt workwear, like that of several other leading workwear brands, has made the leap to be seen being worn outside of the factory as a fashion item. However, the history of the company and its brand and the part of the population they were aimed at is a long way from the young fashionistas that can be seen in the clothing today.
The company began way back in 1889 when the founder, one Hamilton Carhart, decided to form into the business of work clothing when he saw a need for a specific type of clothing for those working on the railroads of America. This had a huge potential for sales as at that time the American Railway Union had around 150,000 members. He went out and spoke to the potential customers and then went and designed garments that were specifically made with that job in mind. This became the Carhartt Bib Overall and established the company’s reputation for quality, which continues today.
However, simply word of mouth was not increasing sales and so he went out on the road, going to each railway division to sell his product; time consuming but successful. By the early 1900s he has established a business that had seventeen factories across America. Despite setbacks caused by the Great Depression of the 1930s the company survived and began to grow again. It remains family owned until this day.
The crossover into the world of street fashion began in the late 1980s due to the take-up of the company’s products by groups of less than honest people, namely drug dealers. They saw the advantages of the quality products because not only did they keep them warm, they had lots of storage space for there wares. This dress code was then taken up by the kids around them and suddenly it became the trendy item to wear. This is certainly not the image the company wanted, but does go to prove that whatever your line of work Carharrt always have garments that get the job done.