Carhartt Work in Progress (or WIP) is a division of the American brand Carhartt (who specialize in work related clothing) and have a brand focus towards the street, skateboarding and Underground scenes. Anyone who is into Hip-Hop or skating will know who Carhartt WIP are; and rightly so as they are a very well known and respected brand who have worked in collaboration with numerous other designers to keep their clothing fresh.
Where the original Carhartt company focuses on durable work and outdoors-wear, Carhartt’s WIP division focuses on the street wear and youth culture aspect of the brand. Carhartt Inc. were established in 1889 in Michigan as a work-wear focused clothing manufacturer; whose motto was “Honest value for an honest Dollar.” Carhartt Inc. then started focusing on making long lasting a durable work wear for the railroad workers, and worked closely with them and their employers for feedback on how to improve on what was already the very best in quality. The company expanded in its first twenty years to reflect the growth of the workforce and even nowadays, more than a hundred and fifty years later, they still supply farmers, construction workers and tradesmen across the globe, continuing to find new and innovative ways to upgrade their clothing.
Carhartt WIP branched away from the company in 1994, when a German denim designer named Edwin Faeh was granted the right to trade under the name and operate within a different division of the company. Edwin wanted to branch into street wear and is largely responsible for the establishment of the WIP brand. He opened the first WIP branded store in Soho, New York in 2001 and since then their fashionable and durable take on youth culture has led to their success.
Tommy Boy Records once used Carharttjackets as a promotional tool, emblazoning them with their name and logo and giving them out to clients and other high profile high flyers. As a result you can spot Carhartt jackets in pictures of famous rappers such as Tupac Shakur and even Dr Dre! Once these trend setters were seen to be wearing Carhartt clothing it was only a matter of time before this influence extended throughout the Hip Hop scene. Nowadays a good Parka or camouflage jacket is a necessary part of all young rappers wardrobes- all thanks to one of the very many collaborations that have brought Carhartt and Carhartt WIP so much brand success.
Carhartt WIP is especially popular in Europe and America, becoming a name synonymous with Skateboarding and urban youth apparel. They have run many collaborations with differing designers, a habit which keeps them on trend and up to date with every fresh season. It is also a habit that has gone a long way to further their brands reputation. Anyone who is anyone in the Underground scene knows who Carhartt WIP are…all that remains is to watch them grow and continue to develop the rich history that they have already begun.