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It’s summertime and it’s darn hot outside. Today, more than ever, our hardworking consumers are turning
to us to help them weather the sweltering summer days. Although the Carhartt technologies that help
wick sweat, regulate temperature, and fight odor are relatively new developments, we’ve been studying
the heat for decades. The most technical garments we offer today are the product of years of adaptation
Of course, we’ve always been known for our durable, heavy-duty brown duck fabric. But when we made our first foray into clothing
for outdoors enthusiasts, we developed some new strategies to take the weight down. A great example
(and a great name) was our Knockabout cloth. Made as an alternative to our heavyweight Super Dux
hunting fabric, it was
“nearly as waterproof and snagproof as SUPER DUX, yet weighs only one-fourth as much – a fabric that
will appeal to every sportsman.”
This idea of heavy- and lightweight counterparts was prevalent in our 1930s outdoor clothing line. Constructed of a lighter
weight moleskin, the Camper’s Shirt provided an alternative to the Hunter’s Shirt, and was
“ideal for summer wear for any sport.”
Different fabrics were also the key to dealing with warmer environments and varying job requirements
in our standard garment line. I pulled our 1952 catalog out of the archive as a representative example,
describing materials of different weights. Let’s break it down – of course, you had our brown duck,
weighing in the heaviest at 11 ounces. Next came our denim options, coming in a bit lighter at nine
ounces. Finally, there was our white sail cloth, grey covert cloth, and fisher cloth, just a hair
under the denim at eight ounces.
Lighter fabrics and garments that were cut for warm weather wear certainly played into our marketing around that time as
When the 1960s rolled around, we upped our game on warm weather options. We also got pretty creative with branding. Enter
“Smart, medium weight gabardine construction for spring and summer work wear... Tailored to keep
their rugged good looks, on the job, on the golf links, or just relaxing.” It was right
at home among its companions in ’64, including Master Sheen, Master Twill, Master Cord, Master Craft,
and of course the iconic Carhartt Master Cloth, pioneered by founder Hamilton himself.
While Master Gab created an option for both on- and off-the-job wear, we also introduced some products that were solely casual.
Our Surfers were geared toward a younger consumer. As the ad says, “young adults” were “on the march
In 1988, we introduced one of our first products with advanced fabric technology. The Wick Dry Boot Sock was engineered to
wick moisture away from feet naturally to keep them warm and dry. In 1995, it was joined by the Coolmax
sock, which was also designed to push moisture away from the foot, but created specifically for warm
weather wear. Constructed of 50% Coolmax polyester, 30% stretch nylon, and 20% cotton, it represented
a huge step forward in comfort and movement. We continued to develop this product throughout the
late ‘90s and ‘00s.
The next logical step was to bring this Coolmax-type of technology into our main garment line. Enter Work-Dry: according
to Carhartt VP of Product Development Deb Ferraro,
“When developed, we of course had consumer need in mind. We were looking to introduce a lighter weight
tee than the
K87 that would be appropriate for hot weather.” The Work-Dry fabric, a special six
ounce, 60% cotton, 40% polyester blend, was a huge step forward in combining legendary Carhartt durability
with a new level of comfort for hot conditions.
But here at Carhartt, we’re never satisfied. Product development is a non-stop process, based first and foremost on feedback
from our hardworking consumers. We’re always looking to take our products to the next level, and
in the case of gearing up for hot weather, that next level was Force®. The first
Force® products were introduced in Spring 2013. The Delmont T-shirt was designed not only to
be durable, keeping up the legacy of our
classic K87, but also incorporated FastDry® (our most advanced moisture wicking technology
to date) and Stain Breaker®. These were two extremely important attributes our consumer was looking
for in their ideal T-shirt.
We kicked Force® up another notch in Spring 2016 when we introduced
Force Extremes®, which added 37.5® technology. This made Force Extremes® our fastest drying products
yet. With both Force® and Force Extremes®, we focused on merging the performance aspects of athletic
wear with classic Carhartt workwear durability. The end result? A hierarchy of product offerings
that allow our consumers to get exactly what they need to do their job, especially when the thermometer
starts to climb.