A discussion with Danilo Amoretty, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain - Product Supply and Operations, accepting

Founded in 1889 as a purveyor of workwear in Detroit, Michigan by Hamilton Carhartt, Carhartt, Inc. has grown from a mere two sewing machines and five employees creating the brand’s now-legendary bib to one of America’s most recognizable brands. Emblazoned with the iconic “C” patch, Carhartt’s workwear is instantly recognized the world over for rugged, durable gear designed to serve and protect hardworking people and last generations.

Today, Carhartt remains family-owned by direct descendants of Hamilton Carhartt himself and operates more than 30 company-owned stores, with their flagship location and headquarters still located in the company’s hometown of Detroit. Carhartt has manufacturing operations in the United States, Mexico, and Europe, with more than 3,000 employees worldwide. Continuing to redefine the limits of workwear with new technologies and enduring value, Carhartt remains committed to providing purpose-built products designed to take on any condition – both on and off the job site.

Carhartt was founded in 1889 during the time of steel, steam, and locomotives. Today, in the age of social media, AI, fast fashion, electric vehicles, and a rapidly changing global environment, describe how Carhartt has been able to maintain its values and product integrity while growing the business and keeping up with changing times?

Established under the motto “Honest value for an honest dollar,” Hamilton Carhartt created the now-legendary bib overall and soon grew Carhartt from a small loft in Detroit to the new standard for quality workwear. Throughout the 20th century, the Carhartt brand has continued to grow and build on its founder’s legacy. Carhartt is still family-owned and managed by the descendants of the company’s founder to ensure his mission of building rugged products to serve and protect all hardworking people is carried through in every garment produced.

Through its pursuit of building a better world with all hardworking people, Carhartt continues to redefine the limits of workwear with new technologies and enduring value. With a constant focus on the changing workforce, Carhartt remains committed to providing sustainable, purpose-built products designed to take on any condition – both on and off the jobsite.

We love the quote from your founder Hamilton Carhartt “merchandise that is honestly made to give service will create a lasting friendship”. How has this carried over into the 21st century?

At Carhartt, our mission and purpose have always been rooted in honesty and integrity. Hamilton Carhartt provided a leading example in the importance of doing the right thing. From maintaining a longstanding commitment to treating all associates, retailers, and consumers with the utmost respect, to protecting our planet to leave a better world for future generations of all hardworking people, our promise to uphold a high standard of ethics has never wavered.

Carhartt has done an amazing job at telling its brand story and connecting with its consumers while also giving back with such programs like “Carhartt Reworked” and the “Carhartt Workshop.” Why was it important to create these engagements?

We pride ourselves on establishing initiatives and working with like-minded organizations that provide us with the greatest opportunity to positively impact the next generation of workers – both today and in the future. We launched our resale program, “Carhartt Reworked,” to extend life of our gear, reduce clothing waste, and keep previously worn and slightly imperfect gear out of landfills and on the job where it belongs. Since its inception in Spring 2023, the program has extended the life of over 43,000 garments and kept more than 68,000 products out of landfills.

Located above our flagship store in Detroit, the “Carhartt Workshop” opened in 2020 as the first-of-its-kind collaborative community space and free tool rental workbench. A resource for Detroit and surrounding communities, more than 1,500 people from Southeast Detroit have utilized the rental inventory of over 1,000 tools to tackle their DIY projects.

In addition to “Carhartt Reworked” and the “Carhartt Workshop,” we support a wide array of organizations who share our desire to do the right thing and who are committed to building a more diverse and sustainable future for all hardworking people. 

What is one recent partnership that really fits with your brand mission?

We’re very proud of our recent partnership with the National Parks Foundation (NPF). United by a passion for the outdoors and workforce development, Carhartt and NPF launched “Outdoor Office” in Spring 2023 – a campaign to spotlight Service Corps job opportunities that preserve and protect national parks for present and future generations. Created to expand awareness to join a Service Corps and gain valuable work experience, Carhartt and NPF leveraged Spring as a key recruitment period to showcase how jobs in an alternative, purpose-driven workspace can align with Gen Z and Millennial values.

Carhartt has a rich history of supporting education, training, and job opportunities in skilled trades, and “Outdoor Office” was part of this effort to spotlight diverse opportunities within the trades. With a growing need to close the U.S. skilled trades gap, the campaign brought critical attention to trade jobs that align with young people’s desire to work outdoors. The partnership helped NPF respond to growing requests for crews and raised awareness among diverse youth, introducing it to broader communities and supporting equitable access and pathways to park careers.

Is there any tie-in between extreme weather and how Carhartt develops its gear?

For 135 years, Carhartt has been listening to consumers and setting out to create comfortable, functional and durable workwear to withstand extreme temperatures. We regularly visit jobsites across the country to connect with the people doing the work to gather feedback around their evolving needs and inspire product innovation, both big and small. Recently, we launched warmth ratings in our outerwear products to help workers match our gear with the cold-weather elements they’re most likely to encounter.

In addition to cold-weather gear, Carhartt also has Lightweight Durable solutions to combat the heat – designed with the benefits of being lightweight, flexible and breathable, without sacrificing Carhartt’s trusted durability. Constantly developing new apparel features designed with workers in mind, Carhartt has also recently launched its new Force Sun Defender® performance line, which features UPF 50+ UV protection. Whether it’s severe heat or bitter cold, Carhartt is committed to providing the best gear to support hardworking men and women get the job done.

Your brand stands for outstanding quality, craftsmanship, durability, and value. What do you think is resonating most with a younger generation?

First and foremost, Carhartt has remained committed to our mission to build rugged products to serve and protect all hardworking people. We’ve focused on what the worker needs and haven’t wavered on our quality or durability to match trends. We’ve seen the younger generation resonate with our brand because of our authenticity and their desire to wear something that has history and a story. We’ll continue to embrace and address the ever-changing needs and skillsets of the future generations, as we stay true to our values to make an authentic connection through work to help our consumers make their own histories.