Rugged, timeless and long lasting. There's nothing not to like about this brand. From their durable workwear to their timeless WIP styles. We're always on the lookout for vintage Carhartt pieces to add to our collection.
Carhartt: An American Institution & Streetwear Staple
Spend 10 minutes walking around Manchester's bohemian Northern Quarter and you'll run across dozens of people sporting the Carhartt brand. And if you happen to end up in the Alaskan wilderness amongst the loggers, hunters and oilfield workers you'll instantly see the recognisable logo there too.
In the 130 years since Hamilton Carhartt cut his first garments the brand has kept it's roots in indestructible workwear for the masses whilst simultaneously becoming one of the top fashion brands and a wardrobe staple for many vintage fashion enthusiasts.
As a vintage clothing store we absolutely adore the long lasting, timeless styles that Carhartt produce.
Vintage Carhartt Jackets
Vintage Carhartt Dungarees
History of the brand
It's 1898. And Hamilton Carhartt's garment business is struggling to gain traction with the local workers of Detroit, Michigan. Doing what any good business owner should Hamilton took a walk down to his local railway station and asked the workers there what they really wanted from their workwear.
Altering his designs to match their feedback was a recipe for success and Carhartt quickly became the choice amongst manual workers. By 1925 Hamilton opened factories across the globe, the UK included.
Even back in 1925, the modern Carhartt we know and love was beginning to form, with the 'Hamilton Carhartt Junior – Manufacturer' subsidiary which focused on making shirts, jeans, shoes and outerwear for young men working blue collar jobs.
Multiple depressions in the USA throughout the 1920s and 30s took their toll on the brand, but Carhartt endured due to their superior design, manufacturing and longevity which made them the preferred choice for the workers of the world.
Today you will still see everyone from farmers to railroad workers sporting Carhartt during their working day, with the company going from strength to strength developing innovative new design features to their timeless styles.
Vintage Carhartt Hoodies
Carhartt Work In Progress
With a unbeatable reputation in the workwear sector, Carhartt were perfectly positioned to ride the wave of the emerging workwear trend of the early 90s. They had found early success selling their garments in Japan in the late 80s as a lifestyle brand.
By the early 90s they had truly the hit the streets, being the choice of many rising stars of 90s hip hop. The logo was commonplace in New York fashion shows, chic magazines like Vogue and popular TV shows and movies such as La Haine.
In 1994 Carhartt WIP was founded, with a focus on introducing more streetwear focused styles to European markets and was an instant success.
Vintage Carhartt Shirts
Tips for Buying Vintage Carhartt
Remember Carhartt is still a workwear brand
Despite it's strong showing in the streetwear market, Carhartt still remains a dominant brand for workers. That mean's many vintage pieces can have custom embroidery or patches from utility or manufacturing companies. Some people really like this uniqueness, whilst others may prefer to remove these after purchase. Take a close look before you commit to buying.
Signs of wear don't mean end of life
As we've said above, Carhartt products are designed to last forever. Whereas signs of wear and tear might indicate end of life for other clothes, Carhartt garments are designed to age extremely well and will still last for years to come.
Be on the lookout for some of the more popular/ discontinued items
Carhartt produce a massive range of products, however the items listed below tend to be vintage fan favourites.
Remaining relatively unchanged from the original 1930's design, the Carhartt Chore Coat is the ultimate workwear classic. As clothing technology has improved over the decades the firm duck lining has become more resistant and rugged, whilst the blanket lining keeps you warmer than ever, but the timeless style remains completely original.
Originally produced in the 50s for Carhartt's core product range, the Detroit Jacket was renowed for it's ruggedness amongst factory workers, farmhands and railworkers of the US. It has since been discontinued from the main brand and reborn in Carhartt WIP, because of this, originals are extremely hard to come by but we do regularly find more modern ones to list on the Headlock site.
The WIP Watch Beanie
It would be a crime to not mention the hugely popular WIP Watch Beanie. First released in the late 80s, this simple piece of headwear was one of the first steps in transforming Carhartt into a true streetwear staple.