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Carhartt was founded in Dearborn, Michigan by Hamilton Carhartt in 1889. It was initially created to provide work clothing for manual labourers (jeans, jackets and overalls). In the 1890s, Carhartt’s prime customers were railroad workers with their need for strong, quality clothing that would last. Following a harsh period during the Great Depression, Carhartt bounced back during World War II as tough, utilitarian clothing was needed by all.
In more modern times, Carhartt WIP (Work In Progress) was created in 1989 to serve the European market, which took Carhartt beyond its pure workwear appeal. With such a long and rich history, combined with with a wealth of inspiration to draw upon, it was no wonder a whole different crowd started to wear Carhartt. Suddenly the iconic Carhartt Duck Detroit jacket and the Carhartt Full Swing jacket, which are both all-American workwear classics were seen in street subcultures like skateboarding and graffiti. Also, Carhartt was rocked heavily throughout 90s hip-hop. It paired well with some Timberland boots and an oil drum on fire in disused parts of town (laughs). MTV beamed these videos across the world creating lifelong fans of the brand. One could argue this was the birth of streetwear, making Carhartt a major cultural factor in its whole inception.
Today Carhartt is worn by everyone and is firmly embedded within many different cultures.
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