Q&A: Carhartt workwear

Q&A: Carhartt workwear

Carhartt, a workwear brand founded in 1889 in Detroit, Michigan, is focusing on helping and protecting tradespeople in the UK. PHPI talked to Nick Poulson, UK Sales Manager, to find out more.

Q. Carhartt has a long history stretching over 130 years – tell us more.
Yes, the company was established in 1889 in Detroit, USA, when Hamilton Carhartt & Company was founded by its namesake, known affectionately as “Ham”, and began producing overalls with two sewing machines and a half-horsepower electric motor in a small Detroit loft. Under the motto, “Honest value for an honest dollar,” the iconic Carhartt bib overall was created and rapidly evolved into the standard for quality workwear. 

For over 130 years, we have been known for our rugged construction, innovative designs, exceptional quality standards, durability and comfort and has become legendary among skilled tradespeople. The company really set a new standard of performance and continues to meet the evolving needs of hardworking people by weather-proofing its product line to provide the 24/7, year-round solutions they need in the rugged outdoors – especially on the construction site. 

Q. Why have you decided to focus on UK tradespeople now?
The time is right. Our heritage is built on tough workwear specifically designed for hard working professionals and is really well suited to the exacting standards tradespeople need here in the, let’s face it, often rainy and cold UK. The increased focus in the United Kingdom includes the opening of our office in Newark, Nottinghamshire, a UK field sales team growing our number of stockists and really pushing the fact that with our workwear you can protect yourself and still look great on site and when it’s time to go home and relax too.  

Q. What types of workwear does the company make today?
Essentially, whatever construction work you’re doing, we’ve got your back. The workwear ranges from tough and comfortable work trousers, rugged and durable work jackets as well as fast drying and work T-shirts to certified safety shoes and work boots.  

We also design workwear specifically for women. These designs fit and protect the body better and are therefore much safer. The rugged women’s workwear collection is designed to ensure that the modern woman is prepared for any job, whatever the weather.  

Q. The company name is famous in the fashion world too, isn’t it?
Yes, we have a sister fashion brand (known as Carhartt W.I.P.), but the legacy workwear brand is the one which PHPI readers will be most interested in and will use on site.  

The trade can rely on our workwear to protect them, while looking great out on site. Our workwear is designed specifically for the tough construction site, and strong enough to get you through any working day, no matter how tough it is. Our founder, Hamilton Carhartt firmly believed that, “when I make a sale, I make a permanent friend,” and the workwear is built to last with that ethos in mind to this very day.  

Q. What kind of ‘look’ do you think Carhartt’s clothing has?
We have kept an ‘authentic’ look to our clothing. Throughout our history, it has been our customers who have helped us identify several pieces of hard-working gear as ‘icons’. These are the products that have truly stood the test of time and whether adding pockets, colours, or incorporating our innovative technologies to combat rain, sweat and provide flexibility, at the heart of each product is the durability and reliability customers have come to know and love.

Q. Does it perform well out on site?
Yes it does. Some tradespeople have kept their jackets and trousers for years. Central to the workwear’s performance are our fabric technologies, which have been designed to provide the ultimate protection, whatever the weather conditions are on the construction site.  

The Rain Defender coating in our gear, for example, is a water-repellent technology, which means our jackets are built to stand up to light rain, on the job and after. For really wet conditions, look for the Storm Defender waterproof breathable outerwear, which stops every raindrop but allows body heat to escape.   

Then we have our Super Dux collection which features ultra-tough gear that fights off wind and rain and flexes with your every move. Plus, it’s lighter but still more abrasion-resistant than our original duck fabric. Quick Duck was introduced to better serve the modern worker through a lightweight fabric that is ounce for ounce as durable as our traditional sandstone duck jacket.   

Force technology is engineered to beat the heat, fight sweat and dry fast, so you stay cool and comfortable 24/7. Hardworking men and women also told us they wanted gear with more stretch and recovery – and we listened – so Carhartt Full Swing is fully-engineered to improve the way you move – while keeping that classic look. 

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