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Carhartt

The workwear-inspired men’s streetwear mainstay takes a sophisticated turn for spring 12.

As streetwear smartens up, veteran workwear-inspired brand Carhartt has seized the zeitgeist with a more grown-up collection for spring 12. “The range is a little more mature than we may have seen in the past,” says UK sales manager Kara Collins.

The new collection focuses on quality, contemporary basics reflected in pieces such as the long-sleeved Duck shirt, available in different shades of chalky pastels. The Privateer pant – a slim, tapered style in 13oz selvedge denim, wholesaling at £38 – could be the perfect antidote to the loose-fitting jeans that  Carhartt indie stockist Dogfish found harder to shift [for spring 11].

“The wider jeans definitely sold a bit slower than the fitted chinos,” says Ian Currie, manager of Dogfish’s Norwich store. “All of the guys that are working here have a pair of Carhartt Sid pants.”

Backing the trend for chinos – arguably the biggest trend across menswear and men’s streetwear for spring 12 – Carhartt is offering four new colours for its Sid pant. The slim-fitting chino will be available in leaf green, light grey, sand and Carhartt’s signature brown, not forgetting the six colours from spring 11. The 150-piece spring 12 collection is priced from £26 to £46 at wholesale.

Carhartt has approximately 125 stockists in the UK, including department store chain House of Fraser and Urban Outfitters, as well as indies Dogfish and Natterjacks of Kingston-upon-Thames. “Carhartt really is our bread and butter,” says Currie. “It manages to blend quality and function yet does it in a way that will appeal to so many people.”

Although Carhartt showed at trade show Bright in Berlin this month, Collins says the brand is planning to show at more fairs: “We will be showing at [London show] Jacket Required in August this year and plan to show at Bread & Butter Berlin next year [in January, for autumn 12].”

Founded 120 years ago in Michigan in the US by Hamilton Carhartt, the company began life producing sturdy clothing for the blue-collar worker. It began to distribute globally in the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until 1997 that the brand decided to hang up its work boots and try its hand at streetwear specifically adapted for the European market.

Fast-forward 14 years and Carhartt has made a solid name for itself in the streetwear market, with three standalone stores in the UK – two in London and one in Manchester – not to mention a store in New York and another in London in the pipeline by the end of the year. 

Essentials

125

Number of Carharrt stockists in the UK

Three

Number of UK standalone stores

5-10%

Estimated contribution of UK sales to global turnover

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