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In the early 1990s, Carhartt underwent a major period of expansion in the company’s casual wear products. Market
research showed immense trust for the brand’s heavy-duty outerwear, and also indicated that customers would
be likely to try products geared towards lighter duty or off-the-job wear. Sweats, button-up shirts, henleys,
and t-shirts were some of the garments introduced to the product line around this time. One item in particular
would eventually become a Carhartt icon.
The first incarnation of today’s K87 was one of the first t-shirts ever to be offered by Carhartt. In 1992, the
“Screen Printed Pocket T-Shirt” was first introduced. It was made of 100 percent “beefy hand” cotton and
came in the following colors: Ash, White, and throwback classics like Cornflower Blue and Harvest Gold.
In the spring of 1998, the pocket t-shirt took a couple of key evolutionary steps. The screen-printed logo on
the pocket was replaced with a sewn-on label, and the weight was upped to a five-ounce cotton.
By this time some of the more “old school” colors were dropped to make way for staples like Hunter Green, Navy,
and Red. Two years later, the shirt’s durability was increased further with another upgrade to 6.75 ounce
cotton, and Carhartt has never gone back. At the same time, in the spring of 2000, the shirt finally received
its K87 style number designation.