carhartt wip

HQBasel, Switzerland
FounderEdwin Faeh

A more fashion-focused sub-division of the historic American workwear brand Carhartt, Carhartt WIP is much younger than its more rugged parent label. The original Carhartt brand was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1889, but Carhartt WIP (Work in Progress) was established in Europe in 1994. The brand’s roots come from Carhartt’s unexpected popularity among a number of subcultures in Europe such as skaters, graffiti writers, ravers and artists. Whilst Carhartt was still very much a workwear brand in the States, its distribution in Europe and the UK was mainly to skate shops and similar stores, so Work in Progress Textil-Handel GmbH was established to create product tailored toward this customer without disrupting the original Carhartt brand identity. For a long time, the WIP brand operated quietly, using the original Carhartt logo on its designs and not voicing any distinction from the main brand. In the late 2000s, however, the increasing popularity of streetwear in the mainstream shed light on Carhartt’s status back in the USA. It was around this time that Carhartt WIP became more commonly used externally to distinguish the European fashion label from its American counterpart. For the most part, Carhartt WIP is a relatively faithful continuation of the original brand, producing ready-to-wear garments inspired by classic American workwear such as chore jackets, work pants, carpenter pants, overalls and shirts. Key fabrics from the brand, such as their trademark brick-brown duck canvas as well as ripstops, denims and camouflages, feature heavily in collections every season. However, the design and cuts of pieces are geared more to a fashion audience, and the brand regularly collaborates with artists, musicians and other fashion labels in a way that the original Carhartt would never do. In recent years, the brand has collaborated with a broad range of streetwear and fashion labels including Vetements, Sophnet, Vans, Neighborhood, WTaps and Converse. There are numerous Carhartt WIP flagship stores in major cities across Europe, but currently there is only one flagship in the USA, located in New York.