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Carhartt’s roots are in the USA, but did you know it’s had global operations since the early 1900s?
From the company’s beginnings in the late 1800s, founder Hamilton Carhartt established a reputation
for making quality clothing for industrial workers. He recognized that the demand for workwear
went beyond the United States, and looked to expand the company internationally. By 1915, Carhartt
had invested in warehouses and factories in major Canadian cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and
Montreal, and even set up a factory in Liverpool, England.
The success of Carhartt in Canada led to expanded product offerings. The first known Carhartt advertisement
for women’s product was produced by our Canadian division in 1917.
The 1920s were known as a time of economic prosperity, and Carhartt benefitted from high demand for
its products. The company increased its overseas presence with the establishment of a factory
in Paris, France. In 1925, Hamilton Carhartt noted:
“When I stop to think that over one million staunch, stalwart, conscientious men who toil, the
bone and sinew of the United States, Canada, Great Britain and France are daily wearing the
overalls I manufacture: I am deeply impressed with my duty to these men; I would be a traitor
to this vast army of world builders did I not give them the best that is in me.”
Feedback across the United States and in foreign markets was overwhelmingly positive, and customer testimonials were received
from across borders.
Despite the company’s international successes, the stock market crash in 1929 began the Great Depression, and consequently,
the worst economic downturn in US history. The effects were felt worldwide, and consumer demand
fell drastically. This caused Carhartt to scale back operations, sell international holdings
to cover costs, and focus solely on American markets. Only a select few factories continued manufacturing
during this time. Although the company eventually recovered from these financial setbacks, it
would be almost six decades before Carhartt began to re-establish a presence beyond the United
Over 25 years ago, Carhartt once again began investing in overseas markets, entering into a licensing
agreement that distributed Carhartt products in Europe. By the late 1990s, this new label, Work
in Progress (WIP), was making their own adaptions of iconic Carhartt styles.
While Carhartt WIP was growing in notoriety, Carhartt’s core commitment to building rugged, heavy-duty clothing kept its
business leaders strategizing on how best to re-enter the European workwear market. They were
looking for a leg up in understanding the specific needs and requirements of European workers.
The solution? Take advantage of existing expertise, which the company did when it bought the
Netherlands-based workwear company ProfTech in 2000. For several years, Carhartt built products
under the moniker “ProfTech Styles, a division of Carhartt.”
This division has since become Carhartt Europe, re-introducing Carhartt workwear to the European market for the first time
in decades. By the late 2000s, customers “across the pond” were able to purchase a wide variety
of classic Carhartt products.
Originally found through retail distributors exclusively, Carhartt Europe recently launched a website to allow consumers
to find their workwear more easily.
The company’s European headquarters can be found in Amsterdam, where they’re working hard to make sure Carhartt is the number
one brand to turn to for rugged products – no matter what country you live in.
“When a European customer buys Carhartt, they’re buying quality, fit, and relevancy in workwear
-Mark Valade, CEO/Chairman of the Board