How A $16 Hat Made Carhartt A Billion-Dollar Brand

Source: CNBC

Carhartt has been the unofficial uniform of America’s blue-collar workforce since 1889. The Detroit brand cut its teeth outfitting railroad workers with bib overalls before expanding its offerings for laborers from farmers to carpenters and construction workers. Once the hip-hop community adopted the workwear style, Carhartt became a pop culture icon.

Today, it's almost impossible to walk around any major city from New York to Los Angles, from Tokyo to London, without seeing Carhartt jackets, Carhartt beanies, and Carhartt pants. The beanie is actually called the Carhartt watch cap and it's by far its most popular product with Carhartt selling about 4 million of them a year. A wide range of celebrities from Jamie Foxx and Kanye West o Rihanna, Bella Hadid and Drake all wear Carhartt gear.

The company says it has never sought out that kind of attention. In fact, fast fashion and the fleeting exposure that comes with it are anathema to its mantra: outworking the mall since 1889.