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From Doughboys to Double Fronts: A Legacy in Pants
By Dave J. Moore, Brand Archivist and Historian
We may have started making overalls at Carhartt in 1889, but our history with
pants goes back almost as far. The oldest full catalog of products held by the Carhartt Archive
(1900) included a huge assortment of pants, including trousers, lined trousers, corduroys, and
waist overalls, which were essentially pants with buttons along the waistline to attach
Fast forward to 1918, when we were producing Service Trousers for American troops during the
late stages of World War I. Built to the exacting technical specs of the US military for
soldiers in the trenches, these jodhpur-style pants were based on cavalry tradition, and had
eyelet holes with laces for securing them below the knee.
In the mid-‘20s, founder Hamilton Carhartt reflected on the company’s WWI production: “Before
the Armistice was signed every one of our Units were busy night and day providing wearing
apparel for the ‘Boys Over There.’ At the earnest solicitation of the Committee in charge,
Cotton Mills were endeavoring to furnish every possible yard of khaki cloth for the
which was so sorely needed. It may have been excess of patriotism that caused us to do it,
we purchased outright a splendid Cotton Mill and extended every effort to equip it solely
singly to manufacture nothing but khakis for the boys in the trenches.”
Carhartt’s Super Dux outdoor clothing line, introduced in 1930, included the company’s first
pants (and breeches) that featured weather-resistant, waterproof properties. You can learn more
about our rich history in the outdoors here.
In 1939, a legend entered the arena, one that would ultimately prove out as Carhartt’s most
iconic pant – the B01.
When it was introduced, it was referred
to simply as
the “Brown Duck Waist Overall, Double Knee.” It was also produced
in denim, a product
essentially equivalent to today’s B07
Double Front Logger Dungaree Jean.
The double front is a classic silhouette for Carhartt, and it’s seen all sorts of hardworking
adaptation and advancement over the years:
1953 - The B01 was adapted for colder conditions by producing a blanket-lined version.
1971 - Committed to completely weather-proofing the style, the B01 receives a quilt
1983 - The double front pants change from patch pockets to inset pockets, forever
look of the front of the pants. It’s a functional change, primarily, making it easier
items in and out of the pockets.
When we launched our Made
in the USA product
line in 2012,
you’d better believe the double front B01 was among our flagship garments. Today, they are
produced in our US facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee – one of which is located in the same
town (Irvine, Kentucky) where we first began making our double fronts in 1939.
The present day is an exciting time for pants at Carhartt, due in large part to the fact that
we’re coming full circle in so many respects. For instance, we introduced our first pair of
women’s jeans in 1949, and today, we’re expanding our offerings for women, working hard to
continually improve fit, function, and comfort.
Our first slimmer-fitting pants, known as “Huggers,” came on the market in 1963. Today, we’re
experimenting with new stretch fabrics to create pants that fit closer to the body. Advanced by
cutting-edge fabric technologies like Rugged
Flex® , we’re
helping our consumers get the range of motion they want without unwanted bulk.
Naturally, our new styles of hunting
directly from our
long legacy in the outdoors. Not only do they keep the ‘30s Super Dux spirit alive with their
ability to stand up to the elements, they’re also reinvigorating a legacy: camouflage. Fall
2018 marked the reintroduction of Mossy Oak® patterns to the Carhartt line, a relationship that
first began over 25 years ago when we introduced hunting pants patterned in Mossy Oak® TreBark,
one of the first camouflage patterns engineered specifically for hunters.
We love our pants here at Carhartt — and keeping our customers satisfied with
their long-lasting value, durability and innovation. That’s why we’ve been continually
improving them for over a century. Our newest offerings for Fall 2018 are built just the way
Hamilton’s were back in 1900, by talking to our consumers and constructing garments to their
exact specifications. Thought it all, our motto has remained: If it ain’t
functional, it ain’t
Here’s to another 118 years of hardworking Carhartt pants.