Skip to Content>>

 Free US Ground Shipping on Orders $99+

 Free US Ground Shipping on Orders $99+

Our Most Famous Pocket: 25 Years of the K87

By Dave J. Moore, Brand Archivist and Historian

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.

Fall Catalog 1994
Fall Catalog 1994

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.

Marketing materials 1992
Marketing materials 1992
Pocket T-Shirt in Carhartt catalog, Spring 1996
Pocket T-Shirt in Carhartt catalog, Spring 1996

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.

K87 lifestyle image, Spring 2000
K87 lifestyle image, Spring 2000

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.