The Authentic Approach: Carhartt WIP

Carhartt WIP has left an indelible mark on streetwear, thanks to its passion for quality fabrics and the authenticity of its approach. Today, the brand has gained a second youth thanks to its virality and the evolution of the vintage market.

In the 90s, Paris was a hotbed of unprecedented creativity and street culture. During this time, Carhartt WIP established itself as a streetwear pioneer through its presence on groundbreaking television shows such as Yo! MTV Raps and its connection to trendy venues like Le Shop. Stéphane Graziani, initial member of the Le Shop staff, Edwin Faeh, founder of Carhartt WIP, and Oliver Drewes, former Creative Director of the brand, tell us how Carhartt WIP has shaped streetwear and contributed to its growth.

The Television Revolution: Yo! MTV Raps and the Hip-Hop Scene

The television revolution of Yo! MTV Raps brought significant change to the late 90s market. Music videos introduced audiences to rappers wearing Carhartt WIP clothing with style and attitude, breaking the mold. In response, the growing American hip-hop scene inspired Paris to create a temple of street culture like Le Shop, where the Carhartt corner was a point of reference for fashion enthusiasts.

Kingpins of early 90ies Hip Hop: Tupac, Del, Prince Paul, Chuck D, Brand Nubian, Das EFX, Naughty By Nature, ONYX, Run DMC, Nina Cherry and Redman among others (pictures by E. Paniccioli)

The Power of Fabric: Brown Duck Jacket

The discovery of the "Brown Duck" fabric jacket at the Paris flea market was an important moment for Carhartt WIP. Edwin Faeh recognized the importance of fabric innovation and predicted that jacket would become a streetwear icon, redefining urban fashion and blazing new trails for the brand.

The Authentic Approach: Carhartt WIP and Skatewear 

While not originally a skatewear brand, Carhartt WIP has won the hearts of skaters with its workwear authenticity. Oliver Drewes explains that the brand has not tried to "buy" the popularity of skaters, but has followed a free and genuine approach. His dedication to doing things his own way has earned Carhartt WIP acceptance in the skate community, proving that things happen naturally without explanation.

The brand continues to define a distinctive style with a fit that is consistent with current trends, influencing the fashion landscape with viral trends such as cargo pants (such as the Aviation or the regular) and the Detroit Jacket. Carhartt WIP has shown that fashion is not limited to brands, but is fueled by a passion for quality fabrics and authenticity, two elements that are even more relevant in a constantly evolving market.