Carhartt was founded by Hamilton Carhartt in 1889 in Dearborn, Michigan, to make work clothing for manual laborers. The company started with only two sewing machines and five workers. Carhartt's first slogan was "Honest value for an honest dollar."
The company's initial expansion in the 1890s focused on railroad workers' need for strong and long-lasting work clothes; indeed Carhartt worked closely with local railroad workers to ensure that his work bibs met their needs as perfectly as possible.
Within 20 years of its founding, Carhartt had expanded its facilities into eight other cities, including locations in the United Kingdom and Canada. Carhartt downsized due to declining sales during the Great Depression but found its footing again in World War II.
In 1994, Edwin Faeh established his project ‘Work in Progress’ and became the first distributor of Carhartt in Europe. Before that, Edwin had been working under a title called ‘All American Project’, which retailed authentic American brands to a European Market. In a smart move by Carhartt, by allowing a Eurpoean extremity to manufacture and distribute, and then design the clothing for a market he had more scope on allowed the brand a greater bearing and outreach.
Soon colours and styles exclusive to Europe were being manufactured. With the distinct American style of Carhartt, the WIP designs appealed more to the European sensibility. It was noticed that the label was mainly being distributed to skate shops and independent stores. Carhartt had evolved from an All American brand into a true staple of street wear.