Highsnobiety

It’s 9:30 at night in Berlin on November 3 and I spot Errolson Hugh, founder and creative director of ACRONYM, at the far end of the huge auditorium of brutalist art gallery and former church, ST AGNES. The term ‘influencer’ litters the online world, particularly when it has anything to do with fashion. But if you could fill a room full of people who were deserving of the term, it’d be here, in this moment, at the opening party to celebrate the release of The Carhartt WIP Archives – a book that celebrates the first 25 years of the seminal clothing brand and the accompanying exhibition.

Curated by Parisian practice Ill Studio, we were given exclusive access to film and document inside the hall for the exhibition and the book’s release. The Carhartt WIP Archives exhibition took an unprecedented look at the history of the label through key pieces and ultra rare finds, as well as found footage, long-forgotten moments, and former ad campaigns.

What emerged was the story of a brand that shunned the limelight in nearly all instances and championed friends and collaborators. Because of this though, Carhartt WIP has managed to build a position as a bedrock of contemporary style, founded on confident simplicity and understated functionality.

“What I really like about Carhartt WIP is that it’s just a tough, accessible, well-designed product,” says Hugh, when I manage to get to him. “It’s not a status thing. It’s not a fashion thing. It’s just good stuff.”

Founded by Edwin and Salomée Faeh in 1989, Carhartt WIP took what made the original American workwear label work and tailored it to a younger, European market throughout the ’90s and the ’00s – exactly at the point when the internet was beginning to shape and dictate new forms of culture. In an age when brands live or die by their online virtual image, many struggling to present themselves as being authentically rooted in the real world, Carhartt WIP’s unique position and approach means it has authenticity by the bucket load.

I pass over to Gary Warnett, creative copywriter for many of the labels in attendance at the exhibition and who also contributed an essay on workwear’s origins for The Carhartt WIP Archives book. He’s talking about Netflix while holding a fizzy water: “The weirdest thing though was watching Luke Cage.” I ask him why. “Well his superhero outfit is a Carhartt Active Jacket. And I just thought that’s crazy. It’s the biggest product placement for Carhartt I’ve ever seen in my f***ing life.” I say that knowing Carhartt WIP, they probably didn’t have anything to do with it. “They probably did have nothing to do with it. But the fact was, it fitted the bill, because people actually wear that stuff.”

Downstairs and from their portable DJ booth that was a co-creation between themselves and the clothing brand, long-time collaborators NTS Radio is slowly building up with a soundtrack that’s as diverse as Carhartt WIP’s own history. I spot Slam Jam’s Luca Benini by the bar. Benini was one of the brand’s first stockists and is an early collaborator and friend. I ask him where he sees Carhartt WIP in the wider industry, at which he pauses for a moment: “I think Carhartt WIP have done, and continue to do, a very good job in this industry because they’ve managed to find a very good and difficult balance between authenticity and honesty, in terms of their communication and product. That’s why they’re at the center of this industry, but maybe not many people realize that.” He shifts his weight and looks out at the huge crowd that’s beginning to dance in front of NTS’ booth. "Oh, and they’re also just a great business."

See what went down with our exclusive shots and video from inside The Carhartt WIP Archives Exhibition, above. Edited by Michel Lebugle and Anna Sinofzik, The Carhartt WIP Archives is published by Rizzoli and is available now online, at Carhartt WIP Stores, and through selected retailers worldwide.

Dive deeper and read why Carhartt WIP is so important to contemporary culture and fashion, and why it doesn't care if you know it or not.

  • PhotographyDominik Schulte / Highsnobiety
  • FilmingRobin Thomson / Highsnobiety
  • VideoLouie McPherson / Highsnobiety
We Recommend
  • Carhartt WIP x sacai SS24.
    The Luxification of Carhartt WIP Continues
    • Style
  • Carhartt WIP & Rocket Espresso Milano have reunited for another coffee-inspired collaboration that'll elevate your espresso game ten-fold.
    This Isn’t *Just* Coffee, It’s Carhartt WIP Coffee
    • Culture
  • Carhartt WIP x New Balance 990v6 sneaker collaboration is dropping soon.
    Carhartt WIP's New Balance 990v6 Is Even Better Up Close
    • Sneakers
  • A rear photo of Carhartt & Nike's Dunk sneakers from 2004
    Don't Get Too Excited About the "New" Carhartt WIP Nike Dunks
    • Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    Snob Diaries: Alpinestars 60th Anniversary Party With Mike Seegars
    • Style
    • sponsored
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • new balance 2002R leather
    It Only Took Some Leather to Make New Balance's 2002Rs Look Even Better
    • Sneakers
  • Heaven by marc jacobs sandy liang collab 2024
    Sandy Liang's Heaven Collab Has Big Bow Energy
    • Style
  • Zendaya, Anya Taylor-Joy, Timothee Chalamet, Austin Butler on the Dune 2 red carpet
    Why the 'Dune 2' Red Carpet Outfits Feel so Vital
    • Style
  • dover street market adidas
    Dover Street Market's Sambas Are Quite Quiet
    • Sneakers
  • junya watanabe hoka fw24 collab
    Junya Watanabe's HOKA Mule Gives Link-Ups a New Meaning
    • Sneakers
  • PUMA x Pleasures campaign images
    PUMA and PLEASURES Are Bringing Punk to the Racetrack
    • Style
    • sponsored
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.